No hometown outing for Rapiras
Friday 15 February 2013 8:15 PM
Sam and Steve Rapira will miss out on their homecoming after being ruled out the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL trial against Penrith at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton tomorrow (4.00pm kick-off).
Sam Rapira was originally named as a starting front rower while his younger brother, who led the Vodafone Warriors against Gold Coast last Saturday, was on the bench.
They were set to play together in a Vodafone Warriors side in their hometown for the first time only to be stymied by minor complaints; it was decided not to risk either player this week.
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Replacing Sam Rapira in the starting front row is last year’s Vodafone Junior Warriors captain John Palavi, promoted from the bench. The Vodafone Warriors will now run with 11 interchange players instead of the 13 originally listed.
New signings Thomas Leuluai and Dane Nielsen both feature, Leuluai named in the halves after last playing for the club in 2004 and Queensland Origin representative Nielsen making his first appearance for the Vodafone Warriors.
NRL premiership winner Nielsen, who turned out for the Indigenous All Stars last Saturday night, teams up in the centres with Konrad Hurrell.
Head coach Matthew Elliott has given Elijah Taylor the chance to claim the starting hooker’s job in the absence of regular No 9 Nathan Friend, who will miss the start of the season after having further shoulder surgery on Thursday.
Also lining up will be 2013 NRL All Stars Shaun Johnson at halfback and Feleti Mateo at loose forward.
Apart from Friend, other seasoned players not considered were Jerome Ropati, who’s working his way back from knee surgery, Russell Packer (bicep) and the club’s other 2012 NRL grand final winner Todd Lowrie, who has returned home following the death of his grandfather.
Some of the Vodafone Warriors’ wider NRL squad will be playing for the Auckland Vulcans in a trial against a Pacific Island Selection at Cornwall Park tomorrow (11.00am kick-off).
The Vodafone Junior Warriors face a Waicoa Bay Selection in tomorrow’s early game at Waikato Stadium (1.45pm kick-off).
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VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
4.00pm, Saturday, February 16
Referees: Henry Perenara and Chris James
22 KEVIN LOCKE
2 BILL TUPOU
3 DANE NIELSEN
4 KONRAD HURRELL
25 MANU VATUVEI
6 THOMAS LEULUAI
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JOHN PALAVI
14 ELIJAH TAYLOR
10 BEN MATULINO
16 BEN HENRY
12 SIMON MANNERING (c)
13 FELETI MATEO
1 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
15 JACOB LILLYMAN
17 PITA GODINET
18 ALEHANA MARA
21 NGANI LAUMAPE
9 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE
20 SAM LOUSI
23 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
26 GLEN FISIIAHI
11 SIO SIUA TAUKEIAHO
5 CHARLIE GUBB
HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT