NRL: NZ Warriors name six debutants for 2023 season-opener against Newcastle Knights at Wellington

  • 28/02/2023

The New Zealand Warriors have named six debutants for their 2023 NRL season-opener against the Newcastle Knights at Wellington on Friday.

Brayden Wiliame, Te Maire Martin, Mitchell Barnett, Jackson Ford, and Marata Niukore will all start, while Dylan Walker has been included on the bench.

Just four of new coach Andrew Webster's starting lineup were in the final run-on side for last year's season-ending game against the Gold Coast Titans.

Props Addin Fonua-Blake and Tohu Harris, winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, and hooker Wayde Egan all return, with Bunty Afoa, Josh Curran, and Tom Ale named on the bench.

Winger Marcelo Montoya, centre Adam Pompey, and halfback Shaun Johnson have also been named in the starting lineup, having missed the 2022 finale.

The match will also mark the return of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who last played for the Warriors in 2018, having spent the last four seasons with the Canberra Raiders.

Webster's only change from the 17 used in the 24-6 trial defeat to the Melbourne Storm sees Pompey in for Viliami Vailea in the centres.

Warriors: 1-Charnze Nicoll-Klokstand, 2-Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3-Brayden Willame, 4-Adam Pompey, 5-Marcelo Montoya, 6-Te Maire Martin, 7-Shaun Johnson, 8- Addin Fonua-Blake, 9-Wayde Egan, 10-Mitchell Barnett, 11-Jackson Ford, 12-Marata Niukore, 13-Tohu Harris

Interchange: 14-Dylan Walker, 15-Bunty Afoa, 16-Josh Curran, 17-Tom Ale, 18-Viliami Vailea, 20-Freddy Lussick, 21-Ronald Volkman, 22-Taine Tuaupiki, 23-Edward Kosi

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