Back-up hooker Freddy Lussick and experienced centre Brayden Wiliame have been retained in the game day 19 for the One New Zealand Warriors’ 17th-round NRL game against St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium in Wollongong tomorrow night (8.00pm kick-off local time; 10.00pm NZT).
The three players omitted 24 hours before kick-off are halfback Ronald Volkman, second rower Kalani Going and prop Zyon Maiu’u.
All three are set to line up for club’s New South Wales Cup side in Saturday’s encounter with the Dragons at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart (12.00pm kick-off).
Utility Dylan Walker and centre Rocco Berry are on track to resume their 2023 NRL campaigns in Wollongong.
The 28-year-old Walker will make his 198th career appearance after a toe injury kept him out of the club’s last three matches against Brisbane, the Dolphins and Canberra.
He comes onto the interchange for Mitchell Barnett, who’s suspended for one match on a careless high tackle charge he picked up in the club’s 36-14 win over the Raiders on June 9.
Walker joins forwards Josh Curran, Bayley Sironen and Tom Ale on the bench.
Berry was sidelined for the clash in Canberra after being concussed in the victory over the Dolphins on June 3 but now returns for Ali Leiataua, ruled out of contention after suffering a hamstring injury in his NRL debut against the Raiders.
Berry lasted just 13 minutes of the match against the Dolphins after being the victim of a Jarrod Wallace shoulder charge. Wallace wasn’t sin binned but was later suspended for three games.
For the third week running One New Zealand Warriors head coach Andrew Webster has been able to name an unchanged starting pack with Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan and Bunty Afoa in the front row and Jackson Ford, Marata Niukore and Tohu Harris in the back row.
Second rower Curran plays his 50th match for the One New Zealand Warriors this week while four of his teammates move within two appearances of potentially reaching major milestones in the same match against Parramatta on July 8.
Halfback Shaun Johnson plays his 198th game for the club leaving him in line to become just the fifth member of the One New Zealand Warriors’ 200-game club.
Walker moves to 198 career games, Fonua-Blake chalks up his 148th appearance overall and Egan his 98th.
The One New Zealand Warriors head to Wollongong sitting sixth on the ladder on 20 points with eight wins and six losses while the Dragons are 15th with four wins and 10 defeats. However, in their last start before the bye they beat fourth-placed South Sydney and toppled the Roosters in round 12 while they pushed Penrith all the way before losing 18-26.
The last time the two teams met in Wollongong coincided with the Warriors’ first and only success over St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium. On that occasion, they eked out an 18-12 victory following a run of 10 straight losses dating back to 2000.