Warriors lose Solomone Kata for Anzac Day game against Melbourne Storm
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/112240923/-

2019-04-24 19:19:37

The Warriors already faced an enormous task trying to upset the Storm in Melbourne, but it now looks like mission impossible after their two most important players were ruled out of the Anzac Day clash.

Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and chief playmaker Blake Green were the two names omitted when coach Stephen Kearney trimmed his squad on Wednesday night, joining outside backs David Fusitu'a and Solomone Kata on the sidelines.

Stuff understands the in-form Tuivasa-Sheck has a succumb to a hamstring injury, while Green has lost his race to return from a groin issue and will miss his third consecutive match.

It's led to a major reshuffle in the backline, with Gerard Beale named at fullback and regular back-rower Tohu Harris moving into the halves.

There are two new centres in Blake Ayshford and debutant Patrick Herbert after Solomone Kata dropped out of the side on compassionate grounds, while Peta Hiku has moved to the wing.

Rookie Hayze Perham, who can play at fullback or in the halves, is on an extended reserves list along with Leivaha Pulu.

Isaiah Papali'i has come off the bench to start in the back-row for Harris, who does have some experience at five-eighth, including for the Kiwis.

But playing alongside a rookie half in Chanel Harris-Tavita, and up against a ruthless Storm outfit who specialise on exposing any weakness, Harris and the rest of the side will clearly be up against it on Thursday.

The Warriors have lost their last six games against the Storm while they are also looking to turn around a disappointing start to the season, with two victories in the opening six rounds.

Meanwhile, Herbert is set to make his NRL debut following Kata's withdrawal earlier on Wednesday.

Herbert has trained at right centre for the last two weeks as injury cover and will step up to first grade for the first time on Thursday night.

The 22-year-old initially joined the Warriors in the off-season on a train and trial basis after three years at the St George Illawarra Dragons, where he captained the club's under-20s side.

A versatile outside back, Herbert represented the Junior Kiwis in 2016 and 2017 and impressed Kearney enough throughout pre-season to earn a place in the club's top squad.

Warriors: Gerard Beale, Peta Hiku, Patrick Herbert, Blake Ayshford, Ken Maumalo, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Tohu Harris, Agnatius Paasi, Issac Luke, Leeson Ah Mau, Adam Blair, Isaiah Papali'i, Lachlan Burr. Interchange: Jazz Tevaga, Bunty Afoa, Nathaniel Roache, Tevita Satae, ​Hayze Perham, Leivaha Pulu.

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