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NRL TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT | Three changes

Richard Becht

Tue 22nd April, 11:11AM


Three changes have been made to the Vodafone Warriors’ line-up for their traditional NRL Anzac Day encounter with the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Friday (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).

Chad Townsend returns at standoff after playing for the club’s New South Wales Cup side the last two weeks.

He replaces Thomas Leuluai, again troubled by the groin injury which delayed his start to the 2014 campaign.

In other changes Jayson Bukuya is again named in the second row; he was also named against Canterbury-Bankstown and St George Illawarra before being ruled out due to a nagging foot injury.

The third change sees Feleti Mateo added to the interchange after spending the last two games in the New South Wales Cup.

“We’re managing Thomas through his injury,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden.

“He needs time off to rest it and we hope to have him back for our next home game against Canberra (at Eden Park on May 10).

“It gives Chad another chance in the NRL. It was difficult leaving him out a couple of weeks ago but he has maintained his form in the New South Wales Cup.”

McFadden said he was optimistic Bukuya would return this week after being close to playing against the Dragons while Mateo had earned a recall after influential efforts for the New South Wales Cup side against the Bulldogs and Illawarra.

Heading into Friday’s match in Melbourne, the Vodafone Warriors and the Storm have split the last eight encounters between the two sides since 2010. Stretching back to 2008 the record shows six wins, a draw and six losses in the last 13 games.

The last time they met at Mount Smart Stadium last July, the Vodafone Warriors won a memorable contest 30-22 to reclaim the Michael Moore Trophy; they won both the Anzac Day clash and their preliminary final at AMII Park in 2011.

With Michael Moore Trophy at stake on Friday, both teams have similar form lines over the last month. The Vodafone Warriors have followed their 42-18 win over Wests Tigers with three loss while the Storm have had losses to Canterbury-Bankstown and Gold Coast, a two-point win over the Dragons and a two-point loss to the Raiders on Sunday. In their first three matches of the year Melbourne had one-point wins against Manly and Penrith followed by a 28-20 win against Newcastle.

The Vodafone Warriors will have eight players making their eighth straight outing of the year – Sam Tomkins, Dane Nielsen, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Jacob Lillyman, Simon Mannering and Suaia Matagi.

Starting at loose forward again will be Sebastine Ikahihifo, named the players’ player of the day for his performance against the Dragons.



VODAFONE WARRIORS v MELBOURNE STORM

AAMI Park, Melbourne

6.00pm, Friday, April 25



VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 Sam Tomkins

2 David Fusitua

3 Dane Nielsen

4 Ngani Laumape

5 Manu Vatuvei

6 Chad Townsend

7 Shaun Johnson

8 Sam Rapira

9 Nathan Friend

10 Jacob Lillyman

11 Jayson Bukuya

12 Simon Mannering (c)

13 Sebastine Ikahihifo

Interchange:

14 Ben Henry

15 Suaia Matagi

16 Siliva Havili

17 Feleti Mateo

HEAD COACH: Andrew McFadden
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NRL ROUND #7 | Several changes made

Tue 15th April, 05:17PM
Jayson Bukuya, Ben Henry and David Fusitua have all been recalled for the Vodafone Warriors’ seventh-round NRL encounter with St George Illawarra at WIN Jubilee Oval in Sydney on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off local time; 7.30pm NZT).
Bukuya (foot) and Henry (knee) both return from injury while Fusitua earns his second NRL appearance coming in on the right wing.
Bukuya replaces Ben Matulino, who is out for two matches after taking an early guilty plea on a shoulder charge, while Henry comes onto the bench with last week’s starting loose forward Sebastine Ikahihifo recovering from a head knock.
In another change Vodafone Warriors acting head coach Andrew McFadden has omitted centre Konrad Hurrell .
“Konrad knows what he has to work on and he’ll do that with the New South Wales Cup side,” said McFadden.
“It’s a performance-related matter concerning his defensive effort KPIs. It has been made clear to him what he needs to improve on.”
While leaving Hurrell out, McFadden said Henry’s return earlier than expected was a major boost. The former Vodafone Junior Warriors captain has missed the last four matches after picking up a knee cartilage injury in his first NRL outing of the year against the Dragons; now he returns to face the same side.
“Ben has recovered really well and it’s great to have him back in the side,” he said.
“Ngani made the most of his opportunities last week and he’ll do a great job for us in the centres while we certainly have a high regard for David.
“With Seb we’re taking a conservative approach after he left the field with a head knock on Sunday. We’ve been monitoring him and he’s making good progress.”
Fusitua’s second NRL game comes against the same opponent he made his debut against at Eden Park on March 15.
With Matulino and Ikahihifo missing, Dominique Peyroux, who played his first NRL game of the year last weekend, starts in the second row with Bukuya and captain Simon Mannering is switched to loose forward.
Veteran Jacob Lillyman will again start in the front row after again being named the players’ player of the day for the third time this season last week.
This weekend’s match will mark just the fourth time the Vodafone Warriors have played at WIN Jubilee Oval (Kogarah Oval). The first two were losses against the original St George Dragons in 1996 and 1998 while the Vodafone Warriors had a 30-20 win over St George Illawarra there in 2003.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
WIN Jubilee Oval, Sydney
5.30pm, Saturday, April 19
VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 Sam Tomkins
2 David Fusitua
3 Dane Nielsen
4 Ngani Laumape
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Thomas Leuluai
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Sam Rapira
9 Nathan Friend
10 Jacob Lillyman
11 Dominique Peyroux
12 Jayson Bukuya
13 Simon Mannering (c)

Interchange:
14 Siliva Havili
15 Suaia Matagi
16 Charlie Gubb
17 Ben Henry
18 Tuimoala Lolohea

HEAD COACH: Andrew McFadden
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http://www.warriors.co.nz/news/2014/04/07/mcfadden_appointed_acting_head_coach.html

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Warriors assistant coach Andrew McFadden. NRL Rugby League. Vodafone Warriors training session at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand Friday 17 January 2014. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.co.nz

The Vodafone Warriors today announced head coach Matthew Elliott has resigned with immediate effect.

Assistant coach Andrew McFadden has been appointed acting head coach to the end of the 2014 NRL season.

In accepting the resignation, Vodafone Warriors chairman Bill Wavish acknowledged Elliott’s personal qualities, skill and intellect.

"I have learned a lot from Matt and am saddened that he has made this decision. It speaks volumes of his character and integrity and I personally wish him well," he said.

In announcing McFadden's interim appointment, Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said: “Andrew is widely recognised as a leader of the next generation of coaches in the very competitive NRL competition."

The Vodafone Warriors have their third home game of the season next Sunday (April 13) when they host Canterbury-Bankstown at Eden Park (4.00pm kick-off).

McFadden will meet the media later today along with Scurrah, general manager football operations Dean Bell, captain Simon Mannering and senior players Sam Rapira and Thomas Leuluai.

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NRL ROUND #5 | Team announcement


By Richard Becht

Explosive centre Konrad Hurrell is back in the Vodafone Warriors’ starting line-up for the first time this year coming in for the injured Jerome Ropati for Saturday’s fifth-round NRL clash against the Cronulla Sharks at Remondis Stadium (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).

Returning on an extended bench is back rower Feleti Mateo, who was ruled out of contention with a knee injury for last week’s encounter with Wests Tigers at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Hurrell is the only change to the starting line-up used in the Capital with the luckless Ropati starting another lengthy stint on the sideline after breaking his jaw just 12 minutes into Saturday’s match.

After undergoing surgery in Wellington, Ropati’s return is tipped to be anywhere between six and 12 weeks.

In another selection feature Sione Lousi has been named at loose forward. He has been charged with a grade two dangerous throw offence for a tackle he made on Wests Tigers back rower Cory Paterson. The Vodafone Warriors have entered a guilty plea but have disputed the grading; Lousi’s case will be heard in Sydney on Thursday night.

“We’re naturally hoping Sione will be free to play for us against the Sharks,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott.

If the appeal to have the grading reduced is unsuccessful, Sebastine Ikahihifo is set to come in for his first NRL outing of the year. He has been named on a six-man bench which also includes back rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner, who has been a regular team-mate with Ikahihifo in the club’s New South Wales Cup side so far this season.

Hurrell (22) played mainly in the middle of the park when he made a huge impact in his first outing of the year in the 20-16 win against the Cowboys on March 22.

He was even more influential on the right edge as the Vodafone Warriors surged to a 42-18 win in Wellington, their first in the Capital and also the biggest winning margin in their 12 victories over the Tigers.

In 68 minutes on the field he gave the final pass for three of winger Glen Fisiiahi’s four tries as well as making two line breaks, one leading to the astonishing try Shaun Johnson finished off right on halftime. Stats analysis varied in terms of how much ground he gained, one provider crediting him with 182 metres from 13 runs and another 133 from 11.

While Cronulla go into Saturday’s match at the bottom of the points table – and the only winless team so far - Elliott takes no comfort from the Sharks’ position.

“They’ve had a couple of tight losses and last weekend they happened to come up against a Newcastle side which played with massive passion and intensity following Alex McKinnon’s dreadful injury,” said Elliott.

“We always have the greatest respect for the Sharks. They’re a tough side to play at any time, especially at their place.

“You have a look at their squad and they have plenty of quality players who can hurt you.

“Our challenge is to build on what we’ve achieved. We’ll need to be better again than we have been lately.”

Of the 14 matches the two sides have played at Remondis Stadium, the Vodafone Warriors have won four, the most recent a 37-10 success in 2010.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v CRONULLA SHARKS

Remondis Stadium, Cronulla

3.00pm, Saturday, April 5

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 Sam Tomkins
2 Glen Fisiiahi
3 Dane Nielsen
4 Konrad Hurrell
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Chad Townsend
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Sam Rapira
9 Nathan Friend
10 Ben Matulino
11 Jayson Bukuya
12 Simon Mannering (c)
13 Sione Lousi

Interchange:
14 Jacob Lillyman
15 Suaia Matagi
16 Feleti Mateo
17 Thomas Leuluai
20 Sebastine Ikahihifo
21 Raymond Faitala-Mariner

HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT

http://www.warriors.co.nz/news/2014/04/01/nrl_round_5_team_announcement.html
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NRL Rd 19 Wests Tigers v Warriors ZQnNL0qBdTpl.

Tue 25th March, 04:27PMBy Richard Becht

Experienced Vodafone Warriors utility Thomas Leuluai will make his first appearance of the year in Saturday’s fourth-round NRL game against Wests Tigers at Westpac Stadium in Wellington (5.05pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Vodafone).

After playing every minute of the club’s 24 matches last season, the 28-year-old veteran has been sidelined since picking up a groin injury during the Kiwis’ 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaign last year.

He was close to making a return last week but has now been fully cleared to make his comeback at a ground where he made his NRL debut as a 17-year-old against the Bulldogs in 2003.

He has been named on the interchange bench alongside props Jacob Lillyman and Suaia Matagi and centre Konrad Hurrell , who was used predominantly as a back rower in last Saturday night’s win against North Queensland.

The starting line-up named is unchanged from the one used in the courageous 20-16 win over the Cowboys.

Back rower Feleti Mateo finished the game in Townsville but was ruled out this afternoon with a knee complaint, ending a run of 79 consecutive appearances since joining the Vodafone Warriors in 2011.

“We were hoping Feleti would be clear to play but his knee isn’t quite right,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott.

“That’s disappointing but, on the other hand, it’s great having Thomas back.

“He was a really important part of our spine last year. He’s obviously very handy in the halves and also gives us cover at hooker.

“We probably made a mature decision not to play him last week. He’s a fairly useful bench player.”

While Leuluai’s return is significant the match also provides two notable individual milestones with captain Simon Mannering leading the side for a club record 92nd time and former Cronulla and Melbourne centre Dane Nielsen making his 100th NRL appearance.

Mannering equalled Steve Price’s record of 91 games as captain last weekend. He is not only just eight appearances away from 100 games in charge but he’s also just eight short of becoming only the second player to rack up 200 NRL games for the club (after Stacey Jones, who made 261 appearances).

“Simon commands so much respect from everyone in the club,” said Elliott.

“He’s such a high-quality player and leader as well as being a fine person.”

Mannering, in his fifth season as captain and his 10th as an NRL player. will achieve his record in a city which was briefly home for him before he moved to Auckland after signing with the Vodafone Warriors.

Returning home for his second outing as a Vodafone Warrior at Westpac Stadium will be the only genuine Wellington product in the side, prop Ben Matulino who was born and raised in Lower Hutt. He’ll be making his 136th NRL appearance.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

5.00pm, Saturday, March 29

VODAFONE WARRIORS
1 Sam Tomkins
2 Glen Fisiiahi
3 Dane Nielsen
4 Jerome Ropati
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Chad Townsend
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Sam Rapira
9 Nathan Friend
10 Ben Matulino
11 Jayson Bukuya
12 Simon Mannering (c)
13 Sione Lousi

Interchange:
14 Jacob Lillyman
15 Suaia Matagi
16 Konrad Hurrell
17 Thomas Leuluai

HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT
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