Lolohea back in Warriors starting side

Tuimoala Lolohea returns to the Warriors starting line-up at fullback with David Fusitu'a moving to the centres for Saturday's National Rugby League clash with the Penrith Panthers at Mount Smart Stadium.

RNZ reports the move will appease many pundits and fans who've been critical of coach Andrew McFadden for picking the 21-year-old on the bench in their two recent losses.

Assistant coach Andrew Webster says Lolohea is primed for a big performance.

"Tui can play anywhere in the backline at a very high level. He's had plenty of experience at fullback in his short time in the NRL and I think he's going to be great for us, you saw what he did when he came onto the field for us late last week (in the golden point loss to Manly)."

Fusitu'a, who has been filling the fullback role lately, takes over on the right edge from Blake Ayshford.

After starting in the centres in the first 18 matches of the campaign, Ayshford moves to the bench this week.

In the only other change to the starting line-up, Ben Matulino will partner fellow veteran Jacob Lillyman with James Gavet, who started last week, on the interchange with Ayshford, Sam Lisone and Jazz Tevaga.

The Warriors return to Mount Smart Stadium for the first time in four weeks.

Since then they have had their second bye and suffered the disappointment of back-to-back golden point losses to Manly in Perth (14-15) and the Raiders in Canberra (22-26).

After two long road trips they now enter the last six rounds of the regular season with a programme built around four home games against the Panthers, South Sydney, Wests Tigers and Parramatta; their last two away clashes take them to Robina to face Gold Coast and Townsville to take on defending champion North Queensland.

The match against Penrith is the 38th between the two clubs with the Panthers holding a 21-15 edge overall with one match drawn.



Tuimoala Lolohea (R) embraces try scorer David Fusi'tua. Photo: PHOTOSPORT