Warriors to employ double act at fullback
The Warriors have revealed their plan to allow both David Fusitu'a and Tuimoala Lolohea to spend time at fullback this week, in a bid to confuse the Titans' defence.
While Fusitu'a is named to start at the back for the second week in a row, with Lolohea named on the right wing, coach Andrew McFadden suggested that the two 21-year-old flyers would swap positions throughout Saturday's match against the Gold Coast at Mt Smart Stadium.
"Tui [Lolohea] will still have lots of involvement from the wing, and they might even rotate through the game, so that gives us a bit of flexibility," McFadden said.
"The change in terms of putting David at fullback, it's more about how well he is playing there [as opposed to Lolohea's form].
"He gives us a different style, and maybe in the game at the moment having a big physical fullback that returns the ball helps us a little bit."
After star fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck suffered a season-ending knee injury in Round 7 Lolohea assumed the No.1 jersey, a position he had already played a number of times for the NRL squad since his debut in 2014.
But Fusitu'a has been a standout in the two games this year where he has started at fullback, carrying the ball at least 15 times to run for more than 150 metres on both occasions as well as setting up a try in each game.
Halfback Shaun Johnson said he liked what he saw from the move last week, and believed interchanging the pair at fullback could only cause further issues for the Gold Coast defence.
"Every time he [Fusitu'a] has played fullback he has done a terrific job for us, and he is one of those players who you just have confidence in," Johnson said.
"Hopefully he can keep learning in that position and keep making steps forward.
"I think it has to [confuse defensive lines if we swap fullbacks during the game], they are different players with different threats, so it's going to be a tough task for them to realise who is out the back at times, and it's a good problem for us to have.
"I think obviously 'Fus' is probably a bit more robust, Tui a bit more finesse, [Fusitu'a's] kick returns especially really get our sets started.
"They are two different players, both quality, and we are just lucky to have them both in the side really."
Meanwhile Johnson also provided an update on his niggling quad strain, which has limited his training schedule for the last three weeks and prevented him from handling the club's goal kicking duties.
"It's a bit sore, but every day it's getting better," Johnson said.
"It's one of those things that you get just good enough to play the game, and I have been able to get through the game for the last couple.
"[The injury doesn't worry me] too much in play-to-play movements, it's more the sprinting and kicking.
"Obviously the kicking is a big part of my game, and the first couple might be alright but then I'll have to do a sprint and I sort of feel it… but it hasn't affected me enough to pull me off the field as such, so it's OK."