The news just keeps getting worse for the Warriors.
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been suspended for one match and will miss Saturday’s game against the Brisbane Broncos after being found guilty of a shoulder charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.
The Warriors (14th) host the Broncos (15th) at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday with both clubs facing significant turmoil on and off the field so far in 2020.
Tuivasa-Sheck had nothing to lose by contesting the charge from the loss to Melbourne as he would have missed the Broncos game with an early guilty plea anyway.
* Todd Payten era starts poorly as Warriors thumped by Melbourne Storm
* Warriors forced to move on from Stephen Kearney sacking as Storm game looms
* Gerard Beale believes it’s time for Warriors to put Stephen Kearney sacking saga behind them
* Warriors hooker Wayde Egan misses just one game for alleged eye gouge, takes early guilty plea
* NRL: Warriors lose Ken Maumalo for Penrith Panthers clash
He was named at fullback earlier on Tuesday with Warriors interim coach Todd Payten resisting widespread changes, likely down to not being flush with options due to injuries.
Outside backs Adam Pompey and Gerard Beale are both on the extended bench with one of them likely to be promoted to the starting side for Tuivasa-Sheck. Peta Hiku would seem the most likely option to play fullback.
Penrith Panthers prop Jack Hetherington, who joined the Warriors on loan this week comes straight onto the bench in a direct swap for former loan prop Poasa Faamausili who has been recalled to the Roosters due to their injury concerns.
But aside from Hetherington’s inclusion, Payten – in his second match since the shock sacking of Stephen Kearney – has only made a few minor changes and positional tweaks from the side that was thumped 50-6 by the Melbourne Storm last Friday night.
Three of the four players – David Fusitu’a, Ken Maumalo and Agnatius Paasi – who voiced a desire to return home earlier this week – will start against the Broncos but Leivaha Pulu is not in the 21-man squad.
Pulu has not seen a minute of game time in 2020 despite leaving his family behind in early May when the Warriors left for Tamworth.
Wayde Egan returns from a one-game suspension and reclaims the starting hooker spot with wing David Fusitu’a – who will play his 100th NRL match – returning from missing the Storm debacle due to a head knock received the previous week against the Rabbitohs.
Chanel Harris-Tavita, who impressed off the bench against Melbourne, has been named alongside the man he replaced, Karl Lawton, but the latter will need to pass HIA protocols before he is cleared to play.
Isaiah Papali’i has been dropped to the extended bench but could come into the side if Lawton is not cleared to play.
King Vuniyayawa also returns to the extended bench for the first time in a couple of weeks.
Warriors: TBC, David Fusitu’a, Peta Hiku, Patrick Herbert, Ken Maumalo, Kodi Nikorima, Blake Green, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Wayde Egan, Agnatius Paasi, Jack Murchie, Tohu Harris, Adam Blair. Interchange (from): Chanel Harris-Tavita, Jack Hetherington, Karl Lawton, Josh Curran, King Vuniyayawa, Isaiah Papali’i, Adam Pompey, Gerard Beale.