Warriors pick same 13 for Titans NRL game

The Warriors, boosted by their golden-point victory over Penrith to move into the NRL top eight, have chosen an unchanged starting 13 to face Gold Coast.

Tuimoala Lolohea is retained at fullback for Sunday’s match at Robina, meaning David Fusitu’a will play in the centres for the second week in a row.

The starting pack includes prop Albert Vete and ex-Titans back-rower Bodene Thompson, both late inclusions in the 20-16 win over the Panthers.

Coach Andrew McFadden has selected a five-man bench which features the return of rookies Nathaniel Roache and Bunty Afoa.

The others on the interchange are props Ben Matulino and Sam Lisone and centre Blake Ayshford.

The Warriors sit eighth on the table, one point below the Titans, after on Monday night’s fighting 18-18 golden-point draw with competition frontrunners Cronulla.

The Auckland club will back up from their third extra-time match in three weeks, their fourth in the past five games and fifth this year – all NRL records in a season.

Despite the added workload, assistant coach Justin Morgan said the team’s ability to see out matches and their improved defence was encouraging.

“While we’ve been in a lot of tough battles lately, it has been pleasing to see the way we’ve been able to finish strongly,” he said.

“Our defence has also been much improved. We’re not doing anything any differently there from what we’ve done all season, but it has taken time for the new system to bed in with the players.”

Warriors: Tuimoala Lolohea, Ken Maumalo, David Fusitu’a, Solomone Kata, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Issac Luke, Albert Vete, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman (capt), Simon Mannering. Res: Nathaniel Roache, Sam Lisone, Ben Matulino, Bunty Afoa, Blake Ayshford.

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