NRL: Lousi named in Warriors side despite date with judiciary

Warriors players celebrate the third try of Glen Fisiiahi during the round four NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Wests Tigers. Photo / Getty Images.
Warriors players celebrate the third try of Glen Fisiiahi during the round four NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Wests Tigers. Photo / Getty Images.

Warriors utility Sione Lousi has been named to start against the Sharks on Saturday but won't know if he can play until after Thursday's hearing with the judiciary.

Lousi was charged with a grade two dangerous throw offence for a tackle he made on Wests Tigers back-rower Cory Paterson last weekend. The Warriors have entered a guilty plea but disputed the grading and Lousi's case will be heard in Sydney on Thursday night.

"We're naturally hoping Sione will be free to play for us against the Sharks,'' Warriors coach Matt Elliott said.

If the appeal to have the grading reduced is unsuccessful, Sebastine Ikahihifo is set to come in for his first NRL outing of the year. He has been named on an extended six-man bench which also includes back rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner, who has been a regular teammate with Ikahihifo in the club's New South Wales Cup side so far this season.

Returning to the bench is back-rower Feleti Mateo, who missed last week's 42-18 win over with Wests Tigers with a knee injury - it broke a sequence of 79 consecutive games for the Warriors.

Explosive centre Konrad Hurrell is the only change to the starting side as he comes in for the injured Jerome Ropati, who is out for up to 12 weeks with a broken jaw. Ropati had surgery in Wellington on Sunday.

Hurrell played mainly in the middle of the park when he had made a huge impact in his first outing of the year in the 20-16 win against the Cowboys a fortnight ago.

The 22-year-old was even more influential on the right edge against the Tigers to help the Warriors to their first win in Wellington in seven attempts and also the biggest winning margin in 12 victories over the Tigers.

In 68 minutes on the field, he gave the final pass for three of winger Glen Fisiiahi's four tries as well as two line breaks, one leading to the astonishing try Shaun Johnson finished off right on halftime.

While Cronulla go into Saturday's match at the bottom of the points table, the only winless team so far, Elliott takes no comfort from the Sharks' position.

"They've had a couple of tight losses and last weekend they came up against a Newcastle side which understandably played with enormous passion and intensity following Alex McKinnon's dreadful injury,'' Elliott said. "We always have the greatest respect for the Sharks. They're a tough side to play at any time, especially at their place.

"You have a look at their side and they have plenty of quality players who can hurt you. Our challenge is to build on what we've achieved. We'll need to better again than we have been.''

Of the 14 matches the two sides have played at Remondis Stadium, the Vodafone Warriors have won four, the most recent a 37-10 success in 2010.

Warriors side to play the Sharks at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla, on Saturday (5pm NZT): Sam Tomkins, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (c), Sione Lousi. Interchange (two to be omitted): Jacob Lillyman, Suaia Matagi, Feleti Mateo, Thomas Leuluai, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Raymond Faitala-Mariner.

- APNZ

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