NRL: Rookie Taine Tuaupiki replaces fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad for NZ Warriors debut against North Queensland

NZ Warriors will be without star fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad for their trip to Townsville this weekend, when they face North Queensland Cowboys. 

Nicoll-Klokstad suffered a second-half head knock during the side's 20-12 defeat to Sydney Roosters, failing to come through NRL concussion protocols. 

Second-rower Jackson Ford will also miss the Cowboys clash with concussion, with Bunty Afoa moving into the starting pack. 

Young signing Taine Tuaupiki will become NZ Warrior No.279, with the 23-year-old rookie called in to replace Nicoll-Klokstad at the back.

Tuaupiki was only upgraded to a first-grade contract in February, after a promising pre-season trial against Wests Tigers, but he'll be thrust into the spotlight, as the Warriors look to get back to winning ways. 

The two changes come after a bruising battle across the Tasman, with several players on both sides pulling up with injuries during the game.

Aside from the fullback, the rest of the backline remains the same, with Brayden Wiliame and Adam Pompey retaining their centre spots, Edward Kosi and Marcelo Montoya on the wings and Te Maire Martin and Shaun Johnson in the halves. 

In more positive news, inspirational captain Tohu Harris will make his 200th NRL appearance this weekend. 

Harris has a new lease on life this year, getting through a mountain of work in the side's opening two games, making 51 tackles against Newcastle Knights in round one and 61 against Sydney last week. He currently stands second on the Dally M Medal standings, behind Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Taine Tuaupiki in action during the Warriors pre-season
Charzne Nicoll-Klokstad feels the heat against Sydney Roosters. Photo credit: Photosport

Utility forward Jazz Tevaga has been named on the reserves, as he makes his way back from a shoulder injury and a hernia. Tevaga played against the Roosters in NSW Cup, helping the Warriors to their second win of the season. 

Coach Andrew Webster's side meet a Cowboys outfit also coming off the back of a defeat, after their Queensland derby defeat to Brisbane Broncos on Friday night.

NZ Warriors: 1-Taine Tuaupiki, 2-Edward Kosi, 3-Brayden Wiliame, 4-Adam Pompey, 5-Marcelo Montoya, 6-Te Maire Martin, 7-Shaun Johnson, 8-Addin Fonua-Blake, 9-Wayde Egan, 10-Bunty Afoa, 11-Mitchell Barnett, 12-Marata Niukore, 13-Tohu Harris (C)

Interchange: 14-Dylan Walker, 15-Josh Curran, 16-Bayley Sironen, 17-Tom Ale

Extended Bench: 18-Viliami Vailea, 20-Freddy Lussick, 21-Ronald Volkman, 22-Jazz Tevaga, 23-Rocco Berry

Join Newshub at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the NZ Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys NRL clash