NRL 2021: NZ Warriors ready for referees' tough stance on foul play ahead of Parramatta Eels clash

The Warriors aren't worried about the NRL's tough stance on foul play and deliberate infringements ahead of their 'Magic Round' NRL clash against the Parramatta Eels.

The crackdown by match officials has seen eight players sin-binned in the opening two games of 'Magic Round' at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, which has seen an outcry from players and pundits.

But Warriors assistant coach Craig Hodges feels his side shouldn't have any issues with the stricter rules.

"We touched on it very quickly at the start of our video session but really and I don't want to jinx us here but we are a fairly clean side with that sort of stuff, that'll be far more concerning for other teams than it is for us," Hodges says.

"We know it's been progressing that way as they just want the game to be fast and they want it to be a spectacle. 

"They don't want defenders laying over top of guys and they don't want the game to be slowed down. 

"So I think in the rugby league world we are really getting educated by Peter V'landys. Our game is a product of entertainment and we need to entertain the fans to keep them here."

The Warriors confirmed on Friday that off-season signing Euan Aitken will make his return from a long-term ankle injury that he picked up in the opening round victory over the Gold Coast Titans.

This will cause a reshuffle in the backline and provide much-needed experience to the edge defence that was exploited in last week's defeat to the Manly Sea Eagles.

"Euan is obviously new to the club and an experienced player, he's played 140 NRL games, so he's been around for a while," Hodges says.

"You've seen the youth we've played particularly in our backline the last couple of weeks, which has been fantastic but it will be great for them to have Euan back alongside them. 

"Euan will play right centre and Rocco [Berry] will go onto the right wing next to him."

To complete the reshuffle Adam Pompey will be at left centre and big wing Ken Maumalo outside of him on the left wing.

After announcing young wing Edward Kosi will drop out of the squad in place of Aitken, the Warriors have also confirmed that Eliesa Katoa is the second player to miss out on the matchday squad, leaving Jack Murchie and Bayley Sironen on the extended bench.

Teenager Reece Walsh has made an impressive start to life in first-grade football. There has been lots of talk around where he should play but Hodges was keeping his cards close to his chest 24 hours out from kickoff about how they would use the teenage sensation and the makeup of their spine.

"We are asking a lot of Wayde [Egan] at the moment as he's playing 80 minutes of football in a pretty tough position," he says.

"We are asking a fair bit of him but not only is it to get Reece [Walsh] into the game, but also strategically it might be our best option to give Wayde a spell and to play Kodi [Nikorima] there a little bit more. 

"We've got other options around Reece as well, Roger is keen to play other positions, Reece is a pretty talented young kid so if he needed to pop into the centres there are a lot of different positions he could play, even a roving sort of role.

"While he's getting his education, he might not play big minutes, he can come on and doesn't need a long time to introduce himself into the game, he'll come on and insert himself straight away."

The Warriors will come up against a red-hot Eels side who are breaking records with their impressive start to the season.

Their eight-win, one-loss record equals last season's best-ever start to the season while their points scored and differential are both a club best.

"They have got a very big, physical, mobile forward pack, so that's where a lot of their stuff starts, like most good teams they start in the middle," Hodges says.

"That's definitely an area we've addressed during the week. We need to stop their big middle forwards and that'll go a long way to cutting off what they do off the back of that."

Join us at 4pm Sunday for live updates of the NZ Warriors v Parramatta Eels NRL clash