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Lolohea earns start at standoff

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/04/2016

Tuimoala Lolohea © Ashley Feder/Getty Images Tuimoala Lolohea Tuimoala Lolohea will start at standoff as the Warriors look to kickstart their stuttering NRL season in Saturday's match against the Bulldogs in Wellington.

Bodene Thompson, David Fusitua and Ligi Sao have been brought into the squad for the seventh-round match at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

Lolohea moves from the wing to join halfback Shaun Johnson, with Thompson returning from a three-match injury absence to restore the club's established back row combination.

With Thompson in the second row, Simon Mannering reverts to loose forward where he started in the first three rounds while Fusitua starts on the wing to cover Lolohea's shift.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said he'd always planned on moving Lolohea into the halves at some stage.

"We had him there late last season when Shaun was injured and he also played in the halves for the Kiwis.

"He provides great value wherever he plays on the field but, while he has done a terrific job on the wing, we see Tui's future being in the halves. It's a good time to bring him in."

Sao, sidelined with a shoulder injury since mid-February, has been named on an extended bench and is poised to make his Warriors debut after making 21 NRL appearances for Manly from 2013-2015.

McFadden has also made a switch in the front row, naming Sam Lisone to start while the vastly experienced Jacob Lillyman is set to be used from the interchange.

Veteran wing Manu Vatuvei hasn't fully recovered from the hamstring injury which kept him out of last week's 34-18 loss to Manly, opening the way for Fusitua's return after last appearing against the Roosters in last July.

The Bulldogs sit fifth on the ladder after an 18-12 win over the Storm in Melbourne last week, while the Warriors are 13th with two wins from six starts.

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jonathan Wright, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata, David Fusitua, Tuimoala Lolohea, Shaun Johnson, Sam Lisone, Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman (captain), Simon Mannering. Interchange: Thomas Leuluai, Jacob Lillyman, Charlie Gubb, Konrad Hurrell, Ligi Sao.

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