New depth to Warriors in Wellington NRL season opener

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Warriors fans - the great game of rugby league returns tonight!

With that return comes plenty of new signings, former and new players alike, to take to the field at Wellington's Sky Stadium at 8pm.

New head coach Andrew Webster had a tied-up pre-season trial (1-1) but the true test begins tonight.

To note for the One NZ Warriors, Webster has selected seven players who recently signed with the club to take on the Newcastle Knights for round one of the 2023 NRL season. 

Of those starting on the field there are former Raiders player Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad at fullback who has returned to his debut club, Warrior debutant and centre Brayden Wiliame, comeback king Te Maire Martin as five-eighth, former Knights prop Mitchell Barnett, and newcomers Jackson Ford and Marata Niukore making up the second row.

The rest of the forwards include seasoned prop Addin Fonua-Blake, hooker Wayde Egan and captain/lock Tohu Harris.

In the backline, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Marcelo Montoya are on the wings, Adam Pompey mirrors Brayden Williame as the other centre and Martin's partner in the halves is seasoned Warrior Shaun Johnson.

Rounding out the newcomers on the bench is grand final winner and multiple NZ Māori All Stars player Dylan Walker. Bunty Afoa, Josh Curran and Tom Ale make up the rest of the bench.

It shows a large quantity of depth in the team with new combos to test against the Kalyn Ponga-led Knights, despite suffering a 6-24 trial loss to Melbourne Storm two weeks ago.

A new year, mostly new-look Warriors - is this finally their year to win an NRL premiership? 

Public Interest Journalism, funded through NZ On Air