Sonny Bill Williams and his Sydney Roosters team-mates land in Auckland late on Thursday afternoon ahead of their second-round NRL encounter with the Vodafone Warriors at Eden Park on Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm).
After being reintroduced to rugby league from the bench in his first game in almost five years last week, the SBW show moves up a step with a starting role on Saturday night.
It will be his first rugby league experience at Eden Park after playing rugby union there previously (mainly for the All Blacks) and famously so at the 2011 Rugby World Cup when he literally lost his shirt in the opening match of the tournament against Tonga.
The Roosters have a final training session in Auckland on Friday. As well as SBW, they will bring a side also including 2010-2012 Vodafone Warrior James Maloney and a big contingent of New Zealanders or players with New Zealand connections (not to mention Kiwis with double banger names from Sonny Bill Williams to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Frank-Paul Nuuausala). Auckland-born Sam Moa, who had a stint with Hull FC in the English Super League, is one of four New Zealanders in the starting pack while there's another Kiwi connection on an extended bench in Dylan Napa, whose father is former Auckland and Otahuhu prop Stan Napa. Napa senior moved from Auckland to play in Brisbane for Graham Lowe at Norths and later linked with North Sydney.
Teams for this weeks second-round matches:
PARRAMATTA EELS v CANTERBURY BULLDOGS, ANZ Stadium, 8.05pm
EELS: Jarryd Hayne, Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Jacob Loko, Cheyse Blair, Joseph Paulo, Chris Sandow, Mitch Allgood, Matt Keating, Tim Mannah, Reni Maitua, Ben Smith, Matt Ryan. Interchange: Ben Roberts, Darcy Lussick, Fuifui Moimoi, Kelepi Tanginoa.
BULLDOGS: Steve Turner, Drury Low, Josh Morris, Krisnan Inu, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (c), Martin Taupau, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Dale Finucane, David Klemmer, Tim Browne, Mitch Brown (one to be omitted).
Referees: Shayne Hayne, Alan Shortall.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS v BRISBANE BRONCOS, WIN Stadium, 8.05pm
DRAGONS: Gerard Beale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Michael Weyman, Tyson Frizell, Ben Creagh (c), Trent Merrin. Interchange: Bronson Harrison, Leeson Ah Mau, Matt Prior, Cameron King, Jack Stockwell (one to be omitted).
BRONCOS: Corey Norman, Josh Hoffman, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Peter Wallace, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday (c), Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Ben Hannant, Mitchell Dodds, David Stagg, Scott Anderson (one to be omitted).
Referees: Jason Robinson, Gavin Morris.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS, Eden Park, 7.30pm
VODAFONE WARRIORS: 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. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Pita Godinet, Ben Henry (one to be omitted).
ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello (c), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Aidan Guerra, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Martin Kennedy, Mitchell Aubusson, Luke ODonnell, Boyd Cordner, Dylan Napa (two to be omitted).
Referees: Ashley Klein, Phil Haines.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS v MELBOURNE STORM, 1300SMILES Stadium, 7.30pm
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (c), Ray Thompson, Matt Scott (capt), Scott Moore, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Rory Kostjasyn, Ashton Sims, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Clint Greenshields (one to be omitted).
STORM: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Will Chambers, Justin O'Neill, Mahe Fonua, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (c), Bryan Norrie, Tohu Harris, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: Jason Ryles, Lagi Setu, Siosaia Vave, Junior Moors, Slade Griffin (one to be omitted).
Referees: Gerard Sutton, Brett Suttor.
GOLD COAST TITANS v CANBERRA RAIDERS, Skilled Park, 2.00pm
TITANS: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamal Idris, David Mead, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Matt Srama, Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Ben Ridge, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Dave Taylor, Luke Bailey, Ryan James, Beau Falloon, Luke O'Dwyer (one to be omitted).
RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Edrick Lee, Josh McCrone (c), Sam Williams, David Shillington (c), Shaun Berrigan, Dane Tilse, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Matt McIlwrick, Joel Edwards, Brett White, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Mark Nicholls (one to be omitted).
Referees: Adam Devcich, Henry Perenara.
WESTS TIGERS v PENRITH PANTHERS, Campbelltown Stadium, 3.00pm
TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Matt Utai, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Marika Koroibete, Benji Marshall, Jacob Miller, Jack Buchanan, Robbie Farah (c), Keith Galloway, Braith Anasta, Liam Fulton, Adam Blair. Interchange: Matt Bell, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Aaron Woods, Eddy Pettybourne, Joel Reddy (one to be omitted).
PANTHERS: Dean Whare, Josh Mansour, Wes Naiqama, Brad Tighe, David Simmons, Lachlan Coote, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston (c), Tim Grant, Sika Manu, Lewis Brown, Nathan Smith. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Nigel Plum, Clint Newton, Jeremy Latimore, Adam Docker (one to be omitted).
Referees: Matt Cecchin, Luke Phillips.
MANLY SEA EAGLES v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS, Brookvale Oval, 6.30pm
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Jamie Buhrer. Interchange: Richie Fa'aoso, Joe Galuvao, David Gower, Jesse Sene-Lafao, Tom Symonds (one to be omitted).
KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Anthony Quinn, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Kurt Gidley (c), Kade Snowden, Travis Waddell, Willie Mason, Beau Scott, Chris Houston, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Tyrone Roberts, Neville Costigan, Robbie Rochow, Alex McKinnon, David Fa'alogo (one to be omitted).
Referees: Ben Cummins, Chris James.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS v CRONULLA SHARKS, ANZ Stadium, 7.00pm
RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Jeff Lima, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Chris McQueen, Ben Te'o, Ben Lowe. Interchange: Nathan Peats, Michael Crocker (c), David Tyrrell, George Burgess, Jason Clark, Justin Hunt (two to be omitted).
SHARKS: Michael Gordon, Jonathan Wright, Ricky Leutele, Matthew Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, Isaac De Gois, Ben Ross, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen (c). Interchange: Chris Heighington, Jon Green, John Morris, Anthony Tupou
Referees: Jared Maxwell, Adam Gee.