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Elliott names first Vodafone Warriors side

craigcooper

craigcooper

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).
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
VODAFONE WARRIORS
22 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE
2 GLEN FISIIAHI
3 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
4 MALAKAI WATENE-ZELEZNIAK
26 NGANI LAUMAPE
6 PITA GODIENT
27 HARRY SIEJKA
8 STEVE RAPIRA (c)
25 ALEHANA MARA
10 SUAIA MATAGI
11 JOHN PALAVI
20 SAM LOUSI
13 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
Interchange:
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 
TerryG

TerryG

The first trials team was always going to be against it, with so many senior players diverted to the All-stars game and a Pacific Islands good-will tour. So given there are no competition points at stake, why not use this trial to blood as many rookies as possible and give the near-rookies a chance to show their stuff in front of the new coach.

On paper, it looks like the skills will be NYC level from both fullbacks, stand-offs and the wings. Elsewhere the Titans are dominant.

1. Fullback: Carlos has only 5 games vs Matt Russell who seems to be on debut. Both players have utility value.
2. Right Wing: Fish has just 6 appearances at Fullback and 2 at Right Wing vs Anthony Don who seems to be on debut. Both players prefer Fullback or Right Wing.
5. Left Wing: Ngani Laumape vs Hymel Hunt. Both seem to be on debut.
6. Stand Off: At 25 years old, Pita Godinet needs to cement his career. This is his 8th game and first time starting at 5/8th vs Beau Henry who has all 10 games as 5/8th.

Where the Titans will be killing it.

3. Right Centre: Dominique hasn't played Right Centre before, he has 8 appearances as Left Center and 3 as Right Wing in 16 games. But Steve Michaels has played 42 of his last 74 games at Right Centre.
4. Left Centre: Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (the commentators will be wrapped with that name) seems to be on debut. Meanwhile Jordan Atkins has 5 games at Left Centre and 26 at Left Wing from his last 38 games. He was signed to the Eels in 2012 without selection.
7. Half back. Harry Siejka has only 2 games, both at 5/8th. For Jordan Rankin, this will be his 4th season and 15th game with 5 starts at 5/8th.
8. Prop Left: Steve Rapira played from the bench in 24 of his last 37 games and has never started as Left Prop. He did not play more than 35 minutes per game in his 7 games of 2012. His 2011 season was also cut short with injury. Rapira has played for 80 minutes just twice in first grade so it may be a big call making him Captain. For the Titans, Luke Douglas has 93 appearances as Prop from 122 games over the last 5 years.
9. Hooker: Alehana Mara has 9 of 16 games as starting Hooker vs Matt Srama's 33 of 36.
10. Right Prop: Suaia Matagi seems to be on debut, but Mathew White has 32 of 94 games starting in this position.
11. 2nd Row Left: John Palavi seems to be on debut vs Ben Ridge who plays off the bench in 23 of 32 games and has started in this position twice.
12. 2nd Row Right: This is Sam Lousi 3rd game vs Mark Minichiello's 99 starts in this position from his last 109 games.
13. Lock: Sebastine Ikahihifo has 3 of his 4 games starting in this position vs Luke O'Dywer's 9 of 84 games starting as lock.

Conclusion: Clearly the Warriors are out-classed over most of the field and seem headed for a beating, but there is a point to this game. It's to show Matt Elliot skills, combinations and commitment in the face of over whelming odds. He'll looking at those who might cave versus those who have a dig.

Oh and if Steve Rapira can avoid another early-season injury, that will be another plus. 
professional

professional

I can't figure out why Tuimavave has been named at fullback. He's a long term prospect for the centres or five-eight, so why not play him there and see how he goes in the position he should actually be competing for. Especially when Elliot has gone and named Peyroux in the centres instead, despite the fact that he should only ever play on the wing or second-row.

Would have liked to see Fishiiai get a shot at fullback. He's not going to beat out Locke but he should be given the opportunity to showcase his talents, a team like the Gold Coast might want to pick him up if he can secure a release. 
TerryG

TerryG

Great comments Seņor, especially regarding Fishiiai at Fullback. I can only suspect Elliot is using this first trial to test out some pet theories he might have before the competition proper starts. 
craigcooper

craigcooper

Agree with both points.

Tuimavave was one of the shinning lights in an otherwise dismal season last year. Johnson and him did play together in the halves and were one of the most (if not the most) dominant pairing in the under 20's. 
TerryG

TerryG

True. All shameful losses (surprised there wasn't a riot at Mt Smart), but at least Carlos got a his first NRL try in round 23.

Carlos Tuimavave's games.
Round, Date, Wreakage.
26 12-09-02 WAR 22 v CAN 42
25 12-08-25 SGI 38 v WAR 6
24 12-08-19 WAR 16 v PEN 18
23 12-08-11 NQL 52 v WAR 12.
22 12-08-05 WAR 4 v CRO 45 
TerryG

TerryG

http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/8281290/Coin-toss-sees-Steve-Rapira-handed-captaincy

Steve Rapira elevated to Captaincy on a coin toss? Not the most scientific strategy, if it's true. Seems a little reminiscent of how Bluey appeared to decide when and from whom to pick interchanges.

On a brighter note, the new coach is adopting a less instinctive more pragmatic approach. Very happy with this.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/league/news/article.cfm?c_id=79&objectid=10864306

Any one know who has kicking duties? 

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