Tuimoala Lolohea will take over at fullback against Melbourne in their Anzac Day NRL clash at AAMI Park as the Warriors deal with losing star signing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the rest of the NRL season.
Tuivasa-Sheck left the field in the 16th minute of the Warriors’ 24-20 win over Canterbury in Wellington last weekend after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
His exit meant Lolohea, having been handed a chance in his preferred position in the halves, shifts from five-eighth to fullback and Thomas Leuluai comes in off the bench to partner halfback Shaun Johnson.
There is one other change to the Warriors’ run-on side, with winger Manu Vatuvei back after sitting out the past fortnight with a hamstring complaint.
Vatuvei’s return means Jonathan Wright drops to the bench.
The Warriors’ victory over the Bulldogs lifted them to 11th on the ladder and separated from the top eight by just points differential.
However, it was soured by confirmation of the seriousness of Tuivasa-Sheck’s injury and coach Andrew McFadden said it had been a tough start to the week for the club.
“At the same time, we have to move forward now with a massive challenge coming up against the Storm,” he said.
“They showed again how difficult they are to break down with the way they came back to beat the Wests Tigers on Monday.”
Cooper Cronk landed a golden-point field goal as Melbourne edged the Tigers 19-18 at Leichhardt Oval to sit fifth on the ladder.
Warriors: Tuimoala Lolohea, David Fusitu’a, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Lisone, Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman (capt), Simon Mannering. Res: Jonathan Wright, Jacob Lillyman, Charlie Gubb, Ligi Sao.