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Grieving Kata unavailable for Warriors

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/06/2017

Warriors back Solomone Kata has flown to Tonga following the death of a family member, ruling him out of their home NRL match against the Bulldogs.

The club said Kata's brother had died suddenly and they had granted bereavement leave to the lively centre, prompting a shuffle to their backline for Friday's match in Auckland.

"Our hearts go out to Sol and his family at this time," coach Stephen Kearney said.

"We're all thinking of him and send our deepest sympathies to the family."

David Fusitu'a shifts in one place from the wing to replace Kata while Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is recalled on the wing for his fifth first-grade appearance.

The other change is on the bench with hooker Nathaniel Roache returning.

Otherwise the Warriors starting side is unchanged from that which beat the Titans 34-12 on the Gold Coast two weeks ago.

Key five-eighth Kieran Foran is named despite having limped off late against the Titans, as the Warriors notched their first away win of the season.

Sam Lisone, Albert Vete and Bunty Afoa are again listed in jerseys 15-17 with James Gavet, Manu Vatuvei, Ligi Sao and Ata Hingano rounding out an extended bench.

The Warriors and Bulldogs are evenly matched in terms of points and their recent form line.

They are 11th and 12th respectively with a 6-8 win-loss record.

Both are coming off byes which followed relieving wins, with the Bulldogs having squeezed St George Illawarra 16-2.

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (capt), Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Blake Ayshford, David Fusitu'a, Ken Maumalo, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman, Simon Mannering. Interchange: Nathaniel Roache, Sam Lisone, Albert Vete, Bunty Afoa, James Gavet, Manu Vatuvei, Ligi Sao, Ata Hingano.

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