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Warriors unchanged for Sharks clash

head coach Matt Elliott is set to take an unchanged line-up to Sydney for Sunday's third-round NRL match against Cronulla at Sharks Stadium (2.
Warriors unchanged for Sharks clash
by NRL

head coach Matt Elliott is set to take an unchanged line-up to Sydney for Sunday's third-round NRL match against Cronulla at Sharks Stadium (2.00pm kick-off; 4.00pm NZ time).

He has named the same 18 players originally selected for ED3N - THE RISING, the club's first home game of the season against the Sydney Roosters at Eden Park.

Ben Henry subsequently dropped off the five-man bench but is now fully recovered from the ankle injury which forced him off the field in last month's trial against Penrith at Waikato Stadium.

While disappointed to lose 14-16 to the Roosters, Elliott was encouraged by the step forward the team took a week after their opening-round loss to Parramatta.

"We've got a long way to go but the effort across the team was vastly improved on what we delivered against the Eels," he said.

The Vodafone Warriors have an eight-day break between games while the Sharks will have six days to recover after taking on South Sydney at ANZ Stadium last night. In a battle which became a typical arm wrestle in the second half, Cronulla was unable to reel in an early 0-12 deficit as it went on to lose 12-14. The Sharks started their 2013 campaign with a hard-fought 12-10 victory over Gold Coast.

Milestones are coming into view for captain Simon Mannering and utility Elijah Taylor. Mannering will make his 168th appearance on Sunday, just two games short of drawing level with Awen Guttenbeil, who's fourth on the club's list of all-time appearances behind Stacey Jones (261), Logan Swann (195) and Lance Hohaia (185). Taylor will move within three appearances of reaching the 50-game mark.

Also nearing the 150-game career landmark are prop Jacob Lillyman and back rower Feleti Mateo, who'll both play their 143rd match on Sunday.

Lillyman was voted the players' player of the day after his display against the Roosters. He carried the ball 123 metres from 14 runs and complemented his output with 31 tackles (no misses and no ineffective tackles).

Lillyman received his prize pack at the club's first official post-match function at SKYCITY on Saturday night while loose forward Todd Lowrie was acknowledged as the players' player of the day in the match against Parramatta, when he made 77 metres from 12 runs in the middle of the park and backed it up with 31 tackles.

Still on the Vodafone Warriors' injured list are winger Manu Vatuvei (ankle), Jerome Ropati (knee), Sam Lousi (foot), Sione Lousi (knee), Russell Packer (bicep), Carlos Tuimavave (hand) and Nathan Friend (shoulder). Joining them this week is recently-signed prop Charlie Gubb, who will be out for three to four weeks after scans found he received a cracked jaw making his New South Wales Cup debut for the Vulcans in their victory against Newtown last Saturday.

Sharks Stadium, Cronulla
2.00pm, Sunday, March 24
Referees: Adam Devcich and Henry Perenara

Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Bill Tupou, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor, Ben Matulino, Steve Rapira, Simon Mannering [c], Todd Lowrie. Subs: Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Pita Godinet, Ben Henry (one to be omitted).

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