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Warriors stick with winning formula

Newshub logoNewshub 13/03/2018

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The Warriors have named an unchanged matchday squad for Saturday's NRL clash with Gold Coast in Auckland, despite a stomach bug throwing a spanner in their preparatory works this week.

Fresh off a season-opening 32-20 win over South Sydney, a handful of Warriors - including Blake Green and Solomone Kata - have picked up a virus.

Yet they've been named to face the Titans, as the Warriors look to start their campaign with back-to-back wins for just the third time.

Stalwart Simon Mannering will miss the clash with a shoulder issue.

Coach Stephen Kearney said he was mostly pleased by his troops' display against the Bunnies in Perth, breaking a nine-match West Australian losing run.

Barring a penalty-laden start to the match and a late Rabbitohs surge, they'd dominated the contest and stuck to their game plan.

David Fusitu'a of the Warriors runs the ball during the round one NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at Optus Stadium. © Paul Kane/Getty Images David Fusitu'a of the Warriors runs the ball during the round one NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at Optus Stadium. But they'd still look for improvement against the Titans, who scored a last-minute try to trump Canberra in their first-up contest.

The likes of Shaun Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck would again look to run the ball, with Green steering the side around the park.

"There was a sense of relief, I guess, but I think there was a sense of confidence - when I say it like that, I mean we went out with a pretty specific plan, so to see it unfold for them was very pleasing," Kearney said.

"There were some good parts to it and some areas we need to improve on for this week, but overall there was some pretty good stuff there."

Elsewhere, Kata and Peta Hiku have retained their roles in the centres, while Issac Luke will look to continue his strong form from hooker.

Kiwi Tohu Harris and Isaiah Papali'i line up in the second row, while Sam Cook, Leivaha Pulu, Sam Lisone and Bunty Afoa are on the bench.

"What's imperative and important is that we prepare well to perform well, and that's our focus, the boys' focus," Kearney said.

"Whoever you're playing, wherever you're playing, it's such a demanding competition that you have to be ready to go for 80 minutes."

Warriors:

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), David Fusitu'a, Peta Hiku, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Blake Green, Shaun Johnson, James Gavet, Issac Luke, Adam Blair, Isaiah Papali'i, Tohu Harris, Ligi Sao.

Extended interchange: Sam Cook, Leivaha Pulu, Sam Lisone, Bunty Afoa, Anthony Gelling, Jazz Tevaga, Agnatius Paasi, Mason Lino.

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