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Ayshford earns another Warriors start

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/04/2017

Blake Ayshford has been rewarded for his consistency with another start for the Warriors in Saturday's upcoming seventh-round NRL match against the Raiders in Canberra.

Along with prop James Gavet, Ayshford will line up for the fourth consecutive time since being called into the side for the Warriors' fourth-round clash against St George Illawarra.

Ayshford was a last-minute call-up when Kieran Foran was ruled out in the warm-up against the Dragons.

The ex-Wests Tigers and Cronulla centre has since featured in the back-to-back wins over Gold Coast and Parramatta.

Against the Eels, Asyhford contributed to an outstanding all-round display from the back five, who all ran the ball more than 100 metres last Sunday.

He made 110 metres from 12 carries as well as providing a try assist for the second of Bodene Thompson's two tries plus two line breaks.

Ayshford will mark his 29th birthday with his 150th career appearance on Saturday, earning praise from Warriors coach Stephen Kearney for his consistency.

"When you look at the rest of our outside backs he's not the same sort of athlete.

"Ken (Maumalo) and David (Fusitu'a) are big men, Sol (Kata) is really powerful and Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) has so much speed.

"Aysh is a lot different but he's reliable and does a tremendous job for us."

After being used off the interchange against the Dragons, Gavet was initially named on the bench but started against both the Titans and the Eels.

He topped 100 metres in each of the three games including 107 hard-earned metres from 11 powerful carries while adding 21 tackles in the win over Parramatta.

Kearney has chosen an unchanged 21-man squad for the trip to Canberra, where the Warriors have won just three times in 14 matches.

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (captain), Blake Ayshford, David Fusitu'a, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, James Gavet, Issac Luke, Jacob Lillyman, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman, Simon Mannering. Interchange: Nathaniel Roache, Charlie Gubb, Ligi Sao, Sam Lisone, Albert Vete, Bunty Afoa, Mafoa'aeata Hingano, Mason Lino.

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