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New-look Junior Warriors side to start NYC title defence

Eight players will make their NYC debuts when the 2010 premiership-winning Vodafone Junior Warriors begin their title defence against Parramatta in Saturday night's 'Battle of Eden' curtain-raiser at Eden Park.
New-look Junior Warriors side to start NYC title defence
by NRL

Eight players will make their NYC debuts when the 2010 premiership-winning Vodafone Junior Warriors begin their title defence against Parramatta in Saturday night's 'Battle of Eden' curtain-raiser at Eden Park.

After guiding the side to the club's historic first championship success, coach John Ackland begins his second campaign with at least a dozen of last year's front-line players no longer eligible after turning 20.

Also missing the start of the season through injury is first-choice loose forward Sebastine Ikahihifo as well as prop Sirovai Makatoa.

Of the eight newcomers Ackland named at the Vodafone Warriors' season-launching gala breakfast at SKYCITY this morning, one has a familiar surname; Toka Likiliki is the younger brother of 2008-2010 Vodafone Junior Warrior Siuatonga Likiliki who's now with Newcastle's NRL squad. Also debuting is centre Konrad Hurrell, yet another player with a rugby union background who has signed with the Vodafone Junior Warriors (Hurrell is a former Auckland Grammar School First XV player).

There's an experienced look about the Vodafone Junior Warriors' starting forwards with all six having at least some NYC experience. Hooker Henry Chan-Ting and second rowers Ben Henry - again the captain in his third NYC season - and Sam Lousi were all regulars last season. Prop Donald Tony and loose forward John Palavi had a few games last year while big prop Lance Su'a-Poe, used in the NYC in 2009, is returning after missing all of last season with injury.

Junior Kiwi Carlos Tuimavave is again at standoff, Sosaia Feki in the centres and Omar Slaimankhel, who scored 12 tries in 12 games on the wing in 2010, takes over from Glen Fisiiahi at fullback.

The Vodafone Junior Warriors, while showing some changes in their line-up, also have a new appearance in 2011 in the shape of a new kit, created by Te Aroha sign writer Daryl John who won a competition run last year by sponsors Vodafone and Canterbury of New Zealand to design a new jersey for the team.

Also new are four of the team's kit sponsors - TNT on the sleeves, DEWALT on the back of the jersey and dtr and Irvines on the shorts joining Vodafone and Greenstuf.

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v PARRAMATTA EELS
Eden Park, Auckland
5.15pm, Saturday, March 12

1 Omar Slaimankhel
2 Sio Siua Taukeiaho
3 Sosaia Feki
4 Konrad Hurrell
5 Adam Henry
6 Carlos Tuimavave
7 Jordan Meads
8 Lance Su'a-Poe
9 Henry Chan-Ting
10 Donald Tony
11 Sam Lousi
12 Ben Henry [c]
13 John Palavi

Interchange:
14 Viliami Lolohea
15 Agnatius Paasi
16 Toka Likiliki
17 Siliva Havili
18 James Te Pou

Coach: John Ackland




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