TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Vodafone Warriors v Panthers

Vodafone Warriors back rower Feleti Mateo will reach the NRLs 150-game milestone when he faces Penrith in Saturday nights 10th-round clash at Centrebet Stadium (7.30pm kick-off local time; 9.30pm kick-off NZT). Photo: Photosport.


It will also be the 29-year-olds 62nd consecutive game since joining the Vodafone Warriors, the only player in the squad who has appeared in every match since the start of the 2011 season.


He has today been confirmed in a line-up showing just one change from the side that lost 16-24 to the Bulldogs in front of 30,112 spectators in The Capital Clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington last Saturday night (the crowd was a record for a rugby league match in the Capital).


The one exception is Sam Rapira. He was initially selected to start at prop last week but was subsequently ruled out with a hand injury picked up in the eighth-round win against Gold Coast.


In his absence 25-year-old Suaia Matagi became Vodafone Warrior No 181, gaining 32 metres from four carries and making 11 tackles in his 19 minutes on the field against the Bulldogs. Matagi has been included on a five-man bench for the trip to Penrith.


Suaia looked really comfortable at this level, as we were confident he would do, said Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott.


He did all we expected of him but now Sam is ready to go again, meaning well have our four experienced front rowers back in harness.


Its also going to be a big night for Feleti playing his 150th game in the NRL. Its a big achievement.


Consistently the competitions leading off loader, Mateo made his debut for Parramatta in 2004 before a stint with the London Broncos in the English Super League.


He returned to the Eels, reviving his NRL career in 2006 and going on to make 88 appearances with Parramatta before shifting to Auckland.


With Kevin Locke still out with a back injury, Glen Fisiiahi will again start at fullback on Saturday night. His peers named him the players player of the day after his display against the Bulldogs; he scored his fourth career try and also laid on one for winger Manu Vatuvei.


Also retained is Carlos Tuimavave, again starting in the centres with experienced Dane Nielsen (ribs) and Jerome Ropati (hamstring) nursing injuries.


The Vodafone Warriors face a Penrith side sitting two points ahead of them in 12th spot on the ladder after their 12-10 win over 2012 premiers the Melbourne Storm on Sunday night.


Therell be some familiar faces in the opposition camp this weekend, not just former Vodafone Warriors coach Ivan Cleary and his Mount Smart Stadium assistant David Fairleigh but also ex-Vodafone Warriors players Lewis Brown, Isaac John and Matt Robinson who all featured against the Storm.


When the two teams met at Penriths home ground on wet June night last year, Vatuvei scored a double in the Vodafone Warriors 30-16 win.


VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS


Centrebet Stadium, Penrith

7.30pm, Saturday, May 18


VODAFONE WARRIORS


1GLEN FISIIAHI

2BILL TUPOU

3BEN HENRY

4CARLOS TUIMAVAVE

5MANU VATUVEI

6THOMAS LEULUAI

7SHAUN JOHNSON

8SAM RAPIRA

9NATHAN FRIEND

10RUSSELL PACKER

11FELETI MATEO

12SIMON MANNERING (c)

13TODD LOWRIE

Interchange:

14BEN MATULINO

15JACOB LILLYMAN

16ELIJAH TAYLOR

17PITA GODINET

18SUAIA MATAGI


HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT