Another week, another intriguing Warriors line-up.

The club may be stuck on the bottom half of the ladder, but they are in the top echelon of the NRL when it comes to sending mixed messages with their selections.

The latest round of musical chairs at Mt Smart sees Tui Lolohea return to fullback for Saturday's clash with the Panthers.

It will mark the first time Lolohea has worn the No1 jersey since the round 15 win over the Roosters. Since then he has started once on the wing against the Titans, and had a total of 60 minutes from three interchange appearances.


It's unfortunately been par for the course for the 21-year-old. Since his debut in 2014 he has played every position in the backline, with 17 games at fullback, 11 on the wing, four at centre, six in the halves and five from the bench.

To accommodate Lolohea, David Fusitua switches to centre at the expense of Blake Ayshford, dropped to the interchange bench. A month ago Fusitua was lauded as the best fullback in the club (in the absence of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck) and he has caught the eye with his late piercing runs into the backline and tidy work under the high ball. He's a compelling talent, a player that needs to be in the starting XIII every week, but he faces a big ask on Saturday.

Fusitua has made only three NRL appearances at centre in his career, and the last was more than a year ago; but he will run out with an unfamiliar number in a crucial match.

"We feel this is the best for the team and [Lolohea] will give us that spark attack wise as well," Warriors assistant coach Justin Morgan told Radio Sport. "Tui has deserved his chance there. There were some areas that he needed to work on [and] he made some pretty good impact off the bench [last] Saturday. [He] gave the coaching staff plenty to think about and has forced his way into the team."

Morgan added that Lolohea has impressed in training since his surprise demotion for the Sharks match a month ago and "has addressed the areas he needed to work on."

Depending on how the season plays out from here, that Sharks switch and subsequent shuffling will be one of the debated points of the season. The Warriors had won three successive matches with Lolohea at fullback and Fusitua on the wing but have lost three of their last four since the selection tinkering around key backline positions began.

Whatever unfolds on Saturday, it's an area the Panthers will aim to exploit. Combinations are crucial in the NRL and the Warriors will have a back three that have yet to play together this year as well as another new centre-wing combination.

Ayshford has started every game this year but was on borrowed time, with two below par performances against the Sea Eagles and Raiders.

The only other change sees Ben Matulino move into the starting lineup with James Gavet shifting to the bench.

1 Tuimoala Lolohea
2 Ken Maumalo
3 David Fusitu'a
4 Solomone Kata
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Thomas Leuluai
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Issac Luke
10 Ben Matulino
11 Bunty Afoa
12 Ryan Hoffman (C)
13 Simon Mannering
14 Jazz Tevaga
15 Sam Lisone
16 James Gavet
17 Blake Ayshford