NRL: Shaun Johnson to miss next two matches as injuries force makeshift NZ Warriors side to face Penrith Panthers

Injuries have forced major changes for NZ Warriors in their NRL 'Magic Round' clash with defending champs Penrith Panthers on Sunday.

Veteran half Shaun Johnson has been diagnosed with a minor pectoral strain, which he sustained during the loss to Sydney Roosters. He'll be out of action for the next two weeks, with a likely return after the Warriors' bye week.

In Johnson's absence, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will shift from fullback to the halves to partner with Te Maire Martin. Taine Tuaupiki has been promoted to the first-grade side to start in the No.1 jersey.

Veteran half Shaun Johnson.
Veteran half Shaun Johnson. Photo credit: Getty Images

Centre Rocco Berry is another recent addition to the Warriors injury list with a fractured hand, joining fellow midfielder Rogert Tuivasa-Sheck on the sidelines. He's also expected to return after the bye, while Ali Leiataua earns the starting nod next to Adam Pompey in the centres.

Hooker Freddy Lussick is also unavailable (concussion protocols), joining Luke Metcalf, Marata Niukore, Kurt Capewell and Chanel Harris-Tavita on the sidelines.

Returning on the left wing is Marcelo Montoya for an occasion that coincides with the 200th career appearance for established wing partner Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

The starting forward pack is the same as the combination originally selected for last week’s contest with the Roosters. Dylan Walker, Tom Ale and Jazz Tevaga are again on the interchange, with rookie Jacob Laban joining them.

The 14th-placed Warriors are out to snap a four-game losing skid against the three-time premiership winners, who sit in second, with a four-game undefeated streak.

Warriors: 1-Taine Tuaupiki, 2-Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3-Ali Leiataua, 4-Adam Pompey, 5-Marcelo Montoya ,6-Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 7-Te Maire Martin, 8-Addin Fonua-Blake, 9-Wayde Egan, 10-Bunty Afoa, 11-Jackson Ford, 12-Mitch Barnett, 13-Tohu Harris

Interchange: 14-Dylan Walker, 15-Tom Ale, 16-Jazz Tevaga, 17-Jacob Laban, 18-Zyon Maiu'u, 20-Ed Kosi, 21-Paul Roache 22-Tanner Stowers-Smith, 23-Ben Farr

Join Newshub at 3:50pm Sunday for live updates of the Warriors v Panthers NRL clash