Vodafone Warriors prop Russell Packer and utility Carlos Tuimavave have both been slated to make their returns from injury with the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup. Photo: Photosport.


Packer has been running with the NRL squad during the week after initially being included on the Vulcans bench for their fifth-round match against North Sydney at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday (12.05pm kick-off).


The 101-game NRL veteran returns from a bicep injury and is joined by another Vodafone Warrior on the comeback trail in Carlos Tuimavave. Out since breaking his hand in the Dunedin trial against the Broncos on February 23, Tuimavave has been named to start at standoff for the Vulcans, teaming up with club-mate Harry Siejka.


While Vodafone Warriors centre Jerome Ropati hasnt been named he has been training with the Vulcans this week after playing all but the last few minutes of Mondays 24-24 draw with the Windsor Wolves. Hes expected to back up against the Bears this weekend.


As well as Packer and Tuimavave, the other new face included in the Vulcans line-up this week is rookie Vodafone Junior Warriors back rower Abraham Papalii (19). The ex-Massey High School rugby union product has played in the clubs last three NYC matches but has now been brought into the Vulcans to gain experience at NSW Cup level.


Outside those selections, Vulcans coach Willie Swann has retained the same starting forward pack he used in Mondays 24-24 draw against the Windsor Wolves Suaia Matagi, Siliva Havili and Daniel Palavi in the front with John Palavi and Agnatius Paasi in the second row and Murray Iti at loose forward.


The Vulcans go into the match sitting eighth on the table while the Bears are fourth with three wins and a loss so far.


The Vulcans again provide the first leg of a rugby league triple header on Sunday with the NYC encounter between the Vodafone Junior Warriors and South Sydney following at 1.55pm ahead of the NRL contest at 4.05pm.


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AUCKLAND VULCANS v NORTH SYDNEY BEARS


Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

12.00pm, Sunday, April 7

Referee: Daniel Caddy


AUCKLAND VULCANS


1 ZORAM WATENE

2 TANGI ROPATI

3 ATELEA NAFETALAI

4 SIO SIUA TAUKEIAHO

5 STEVE WAETFORD

6 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE

7 HARRY SIEJKA

8 SUAIA MATAGI

9 SILIVA HAVILI

10 DANIEL PALAVI

11 JOHN PALAVI

12 AGNATIUS PAASI

13 MURRAY ITI

Interchange:

14 AARON NOOTAI

15 ABRAHAM PAPALII

16 NATHANIEL PETERU

17 RUSSELL PACKER

18 PATRICK SIPLEY


HEAD COACH: WILLIE SWANN