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Maumalo to join 100-game club - Vodafone Warriors

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Left winger Ken Maumalo makes his delayed 100th career appearance in a much-changed line-up for the Vodafone Warriors’ fifth-round NRL encounter with Manly Warringah at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford on Friday night (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).

The 26-year-old Kiwi international becomes the 25th player and the fourth winger to join the club’s 100-game honours board after his wing partner David Fusitu’a brought up the achievement last season.

Manu Vatuvei (226) and Francis Meli (110) are the only other two wings on the list.

A Papatoetoe Panthers junior, Maumalo would most likely have reached the mark last year but was limited to just eight appearances after returning home early to reunite with his family during the Covid-19-affected campaign.

Debuting against Parramatta in round 10 in 2015, he made only 18 appearances in his first two seasons but played 69 of a possible 73 games in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

While Maumalo is named in a backline unchanged after Sunday’s 12-32 loss to the Sydney Roosters, there has been a lot of movement in the selection of the forwards.

With props Addin Fonua-Blake (knee) and Bunty Afoa (suspended) plus second rower Bayley Sironen (knee) sidelined, Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown has been forced to reshape his starting pack and bench.

Also out of contention are prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (last game of a three-match suspension), Euan Aitken (knee), Chanel Harris-Tavita (foot) and Peta Hiku (knee).

Brown has moved Tohu Harris out of the back row to start at prop along with Leeson Ah Mau while Jack Murchie replaces Sironen in the second row and Jazz Tevaga is named at loose forward (where he has started the last two weeks despite being named on the bench).

Called in to make his club debut from the bench is new signing Kane Evans while Brown has brought in back rower Josh Curran and 2020 rookie middle forward Tom Ale to complete the interchange alongside Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Added to the extended bench are prop Jackson Frei and young hooker Taniela Otukolo.

The Vodafone Warriors face a Manly side coming off four losses from four starts this season, the most recent a 6-46 defeat by Penrith last Thursday.

They will have the benefit of a long turnaround while the Vodafone Warriors are back after a five-day break since their last match.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES

6.00pm, Friday, April 9, 2021

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)

2 DAVID FUSITU’A

3 ADAM POMPEY

4 MARCELO MONTOYA

5 KEN MAUMALO

6 KODI NIKORIMA

7 SEAN O’SULLIVAN

8 LEESON AH MAU

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 TOHU HARRIS

11 ELIESA KATOA

12 JACK MURCHIE

13 JAZZ TEVAGA

Interchange:

14 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

15 TOM ALE

16 KANE EVANS

17 JOSH CURRAN

18 ROCCO BERRY

20 PAUL TURNER 21 JACKSON FREI

22 TANIELA OTUKOLO

HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN

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