Ropati and Hurrell return to Warriors line up
Jerome Ropati returns at fullback and Konrad Hurrell comes into the centres for the Warriors' ninth-round NRL match against the Brisbane Broncos at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.by NRL
Jerome Ropati returns at fullback and Konrad Hurrell comes into the centres for the Warriors' ninth-round NRL match against the Brisbane Broncos at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
Ropati has recovered from the hamstring strain that ruled him out of the Anzac Day clash against Melbourne, clearing the way for him to replace Kevin Locke.
Locke lasted only six minutes of his return from a leg injury against the Storm when he was forced off with a sternum complaint, which could sideline him for three to four weeks.
The 20-year-old Hurrell, who appeared in the club's first four matches of the year, is named in the centres with his fellow Vodafone Junior Warriors graduate Ben Henry. Hurrell last played for the NRL side against Gold Coast on March 24; a groin injury sidelined him briefly but he has since been used in the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup, scoring two tries in their 42-38 win against Wentworthville last Saturday.
"Jerome was going really well for us at fullback against South Sydney until he was forced off with his hamstring injury so it's great that he can come back into the side now Kevin is out injured," said McClennan.
"Konrad was impressive for us earlier in the season but we also wanted to see him getting in more minutes, which he has been able to do with the Vulcans."
Also returning to the line-up as expected is halfback Shaun Johnson, who missed the Melbourne game with a shoulder injury he picked up in his Kiwi debut in the April 20 Anzac Test. He comes in for Pita Godinet, one of five players named on the interchange bench.
Prop Russell Packer has been named as a starting front rower after recently being listed on the bench before subsequently starting. McClennan has also slightly shuffled his back row options, with regular loose forward Elijah Taylor named as a starting second rower and Feleti Mateo named in jersey No 13.
McClennan said Jacob Lillyman, who has been sidelined since February with a bicep injury, was in contention to play but still needed to be cleared. Lillyman trained fully with the squad at Otahuhu College yesterday.
Among those not considered were Micheal Luck (wrist), Locke (sternum), Sam Rapira (ankle), Steve Rapira (ankle) and Glen Fisiiahi (groin). Fisiiahi scored another two tries for the Vulcans last Saturday but is now expected to be out of action for a week.
Krisnan Inu, who started his 99th NRL match in the centres last week before moving to fullback for Locke, is included on a five-man bench.
Saturday night's match will edge interchange forward Ukuma Ta'ai within one appearance of his 50-game milestone. He's one of 13 players who have been used in all eight games so far.
The Broncos come into the match as one of the competition's outstanding sides of the season to date. They lost their second game to North Queensland but have since won six on end to lie second on the ladder behind the unbeaten Melbourne Storm. Last Friday night, the Broncos beat Gold Coast 26-6 with their Kiwi connection - Alex Glenn, Gerard Beale and Josh Hoffman - scoring four of their five tries.
WARRIORS v BRISBANE
Sat 05/05/12, Mt Smart Stadium, 7.30pm (NZ)
Referees: Ben Cummins, Jason Robinson
Sideline Officials: Ricky MacFarlane, Brenden Wood
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Warriors: 1 Jerome Ropati, 2 Bill Tupou, 3 Ben Henry, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Manu Vatuvei, 6 James Maloney, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Russell Packer, 9 Nathan Friend, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Elijah Taylor, 12 Simon Mannering [c], 13 Feleti Mateo. Subs: 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Ukuma Ta'ai, 16 Sione Lousi, 17 Pita Godinet, 18 Krisnan Inu (one to be omitted).
Brisbane: 1 Josh Hoffman, 2 Gerard Beale, 3 Jack Reed, 4 Justin Hodges, 5 Dale Copley, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Peter Wallace, 8 Ben Hannant, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Petero Civoniceva, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Sam Thaiday [c], 13 Corey Parker. Subs: 14 Ben Hunt, 15 Josh McGuire, 16 Matt Gillett, 17 Ben Te'o.
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