Adam Blair named on bench for Warriors as star trio set to return against Knights

2019-04-30 05:55:46

Veteran Warriors forward Adam Blair has been benched for Sunday's home clash against Newcastle, while key duo Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Blake Green have been named to make their return form injury.

Blair has been under-fire from critics after several lacklustre performances, with the former Kiwis captain admitting last week he has not been at his best.

While busy on defence, his running metres have been way down over the last three matches, averaging just 26.3m during that period, including a low of 13m in last week's one-point loss to Melbourne.

With Tohu Harris returning to the forwards after filling in at five-eighth last week, Blair has been named in the No 15 jersey with Isaiah Papali'i and Lachlan Burr joining Harris in the back-row.

Tuivasa-Sheck and Green, along with winger David Fusitu'a, were the notable inclusions in the side as coach Stephen Kearney looks to avoid a fourth-straight defeat.

Green (groin) has missed the last three games against South Sydney, North Queensland and Melbourne, while Tuivasa-Sheck (hamstring) and Fusitu'a (rib) were both ruled out of the Anzac Day battle against the Storm.

Green and Tuivasa-Sheck both trained separately from the main group on Monday but the Warriors are hopeful all three players will take the field against the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium.

However, they will be without utility Jazz Tevaga, who was forced off the field with a leg injury after playing just 14 minutes against the Storm.

With Tuivasa-Sheck and Fusitu'a named, Peta Hiku has switched back to left centre while Gerard Beale joins Blair on the bench.

Patrick Herbert has retained his place at right centre after an impressive first grade debut against the Storm, although Solomone Kata, who was ruled out last week on compassionate grounds, is part of the extended reserves list.

The Warriors and Newcastle are both on four points after seven rounds, with the 11th-placed Knights one spot above the hosts via a slightly better points differential.

In 39 matches between the two clubs, the Warriors hold a 20-18 head-to-advantage and have won the last six games at Mt Smart since 2012.

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), David Fusitu'a, Peta Hiku, Patrick Herbert, Ken Maumalo, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Blake Green, Agnatius Paasi, Issac Luke, Leeson Ah Mau, Isaiah Papali'i, Tohu Harris, Lachlan Burr. Interchange: Nathaniel Roache,  Adam Blair, Bunty Afoa, Gerard Beale, Hayze Perham, Solomone Kata, Ligi Sao, Chris Satae

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