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The Vodafone Warriors have lost prop/second rower Steve Rapira for the season after he ruptured the ACL in his right knee playing for Auckland Vulcans in their New South Wales Cup match against the Mounties last weekend. Photo: Photosport.

Rapira will have surgery following confirmation of the injury after an MRI scan this week.

Its another cruel blow for the younger of the clubs Rapira brothers.

He was in the playing squad for each of the Vodafone Warriors first three matches of the NRL season but lasted only four minutes of the third-round clash against the Cronulla Sharks on March 24 before being forced off with an ugly ear wound.

After recovering from plastic surgery to repair the damage, Rapira was making his return in the New South Wales Cup last Saturday.

He joins front rower Sione Lousi who had his season ended by an ACL injury in the first trial of the season against Gold Coast in February.

Vodafone Warriors utility Sio Siua Taukeiaho was also injured playing for the Vulcans. Hell be out for six to eight weeks after a fracture to his right lower fibula.

No question were having our share of injuries, said Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott.

All of us feel for Steve as we do for Sione. Its a tough game were involved in but its really disappointing for all concerned when players have their seasons ended like this.

Weve got a lot of players on the injury list. Its testing our depth but its also giving players more exposure at NRL level.

The Vodafone Warriors returned to training today following some time off after last Saturday nights loss to Canberra.

Next up after this weekends round of representative matches is the clubs annual Anzac Day encounter with Melbourne at AAMI Park next Thursday night with the Michael Moore Trophy on the line.

The Vodafone Warriors will go into the contest without experienced outside backs Manu Vatuvei and Dane Nielsen.

Vatuvei picked up a sternum injury in the fifth-round match against South Sydney and aggravated it in the warm-up in Canberra on Saturday night.

However, with utility Pita Godinet already ruled out after going down with a back injury in the warm-up and being replaced by 18th man Bill Tupou Vatuvei played the full match. He did so in obvious discomfort but scored two tries, saved one and stayed on the field the full 80 minutes. His act of courage under duress was noted by his peers who voted him the players player of the day.

What Manu did for the team on Saturday night was massive. I cant say enough about his efforts and it speaks volumes for the person he is, said Elliott.

However, hell be sidelined for up to three weeks meaning hell miss the Melbourne match but will hopefully return for the home game against Gold Coast on May 5.

Nielsen will also miss the Anzac Day contest against his old Melbourne side. He lasted only 17 minutes against Canberra after leaving the field with more rib trouble. Its hoped he will recover in time for the Gold Coast game.

Of the players already on the injured list its hoped prop Jacob Lillyman will be over ankle and hip injuries to face the Storm while Godinet is recovering well from his back complaint and will be fit for the trip to Melbourne.
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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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