Elliott names first Vodafone Warriors side
Tuesday 5 February 2013 9:50 AM
Head coach Matthew Elliott has included a mix of NRL experience, NYC-eligible players, some who have been on trial and a 2012 Auckland Vulcans regular for Saturday’s opening 2013 trial against the Gold Coast Titans at Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads (5.15pm kick-off local time). Photo: Photosport.
In naming his first team as Vodafone Warriors head coach, Elliott has named prop Steve Rapira as captain in a line-up including new signings Dominique Peyroux and Harry Siejka.
For Auckland-born and raised Peyroux (24), the match will be a homecoming of sorts. The centre-winger was signed in early November after 16 NRL appearances for the Titans in 2011-2012.
Apart from Peyroux – named to play in the centres – Rapira and former Penrith half Siejka, other players with NRL experience selected are Carlos Tuimavave, Glen Fisiiahi, Pita Godinet, Alehana Mara, Sam Lousi, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sione Lousi and Konrad Hurrell.
The Vodafone Warriors’ most experienced players are all being set for the following trials against Penrith in Hamilton on Saturday, February 16 (4.00pm kick-off) and Brisbane in Dunedin on Saturday, February 23 (7.30pm kick-off). Three of them – Feleti Mateo, Shaun Johnson and Dane Nielsen – are all playing in Saturday night’s fourth annual NRL All Stars v Indigenous All Stars season-opener at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
“This trial is so important for us, as every trial is,” said Elliott.
“In this case it’s an opportunity for us to use our wider squad, to have a look at not just some established members of our group but to also expose some players who are still eligible to play for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in the NYC and players who have been on trial over the summer.”
Elliott also highlighted the selection of Auckland Vulcans utility Aaron Nootai on the bench.
Tuimavave starts at fullback, where he finished the 2012 NRL season, while eight-game Vodafone Warrior Glen Fisiiahi is on the wing. Fisiiahi was a Vulcans regular last year as was Godinet, who’s paired in the halves with Siejka (21), who featured for Penrith in each of the NYC’s first five seasons.
Players still eligible for the Vodafone Junior Warriors named in the squad are Ngani Laumape, David Fusitua, Siliva Havili, Trent Bishop and David Bhana while offseason trialists Suaia Matagi, Atelea Nafetalai, 2011-2012 Vodafone Junior Warrior Nathaniel Peteru and ex-Penrith NYC outside back Malakai Watene-Zelezniak are also named.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v GOLD COAST TITANS
Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads
5.15pm, Saturday, February 09
22 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE
2 GLEN FISIIAHI
3 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
4 MALAKAI WATENE-ZELEZNIAK
26 NGANI LAUMAPE
6 PITA GODINET
27 HARRY SIEJKA
8 STEVE RAPIRA (c)
25 ALEHANA MARA
10 SUAIA MATAGI
11 JOHN PALAVI
20 SAM LOUSI
13 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
14 ATELEA NAFETALAI
15 SIONE LOUSI
16 DAVID FUSITUA
17 AARON NOOTAI
18 NATHANIEL PETERU
21 SILIVA HAVILI
23 KONRAD HURRELL
24 SIO SIUA TAUKEIAHO
5 TRENT BISHOP
9 DAVID BHANA
HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT