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Back-rower Sione Faumuina has been recalled to the Vodafone Warriors starting line-up for their clash against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Toyota Park this Saturday night. Faumuina has not played for the club since the round 13 clash against the Raiders, after which he was suspended by the NRL judiciary for four matches for his part in a dangerous throw tackle.
Also returning to the team for this round 18 clash is utility player Wairangi Koopu, who had missed the side?s previous two matches due to a jaw injury suffered against the North Queensland Cowboys.
These inclusions have resulted in some positional changes to the side that defeated Parramatta last weekend. Recently re-signed five-eighth Lance Hohaia has been promoted from the interchange bench to the run on side. This allows Tony Martin to move back into the centres, and sees Jerome Ropati shift onto the wing in place of Henry Fa?afili.
In the forwards, Faumuina?s return sees Epalahame Lauaki revert to the fresh reserves bench alongside Koopu. Impressive young front-rower Shannon Stowers has been forced to sit out this week?s match with a torn pectoral muscle. It is unsure at this stage how long this injury will take to heal.
The team for this Saturday night?s game against the Sharks at Toyota Park, kicking off at 7:30pm (AEST time) is:
1. Brent Webb 2. Justin Murphy 3. Tony Martin 4. Clinton Toopi 5. Jerome Ropati 6. Lance Hohaia 7. Stacey Jones 8. Iafeta Paleaaesina 9. Monty Betham (c) 10. Richard Villasanti 11. Sione Faumuina 12. Awen Guttenbeil 13. Vinnie Anderson 14. Karl Temata 15. Evarn Tuimavave 16. Epalahame Lauaki 17. Wairangi Koopu 20. Louis Anderson
Former Warriors? players Mark Tookey and Vince Mellars both left New Zealand for new clubs today. Tookey has gone to Castleford in the British Super League on a deal which will see him turn out for them for the remainder of this season with an option his way for 2005. Mellars will take up a contract with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks for the duration of 2004 and all of 2005.
Finally, both Warriors? players charged by the NRL judiciary from round 17, Iafeta Paleaaesina and Henry Fa?afili, have taken early pleas to their respective grade one charges. This will result in neither player missing a game, but both will carry over 93 demerit points should they be charged again.