NRL PREVIEW: Vodafone Warriors v Knights

Glen Fisiiahi (pictured) starts on the right wing for the Vodafone Warriors in their NRL match against Newcastle at Mount Smart Stadium today. Photo: Photosport.


The Vodafone Warriors will take a much-changed line-up into todays 11th-round NRL match against Newcastle at Mount Smart Stadium (4.05pm kick-off; match day sponsor: dtr).


While fullback Kevin Locke and centre Dane Nielsen have been cleared to return from injury, loose forward Todd Lowrie (ribs) and Ben Henry (knee) are both out after being originally named in the side on Tuesday.


Also omitted from the starting line-up initially selected is right winger Bill Tupou.


With Lowrie out, Elijah Taylor will start at loose forward in jersey No 16 while Henrys place on the right edge is taken by Carlos Tuimavave, who had also been named on the bench in No 17.


Lining up on the right wing outside Tuimavave will be Glen Fisiiahi in jersey No 21. He started at fullback in last Saturday nights loss to Penrith but was originally included on a seven-man bench with Locke declared fit again.


Joining Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman and Pita Godinet on the interchange is back rower Sebastine Ikahihifo in jersey No 24. He comes back from New South Wales Cup duty to make his sixth NRL appearance of the season after last being used against Canberra on April 13.


Locke makes his 76th NRL appearance today after missing the last two games against Canterbury-Bankstown and Penrith with a back injury picked up in the 25-24 home win against Gold Coast on May 5, the last time the Vodafone Warriors played at home.


And ex-Melbourne centre Nielsen is in line for his sixth outing for his new club after being sidelined with a rib injury suffered in the opening minutes of the 16-20 sixth-round loss to Canberra on April 13.


The Vodafone Warriors are marking the NRLs Women in League cause today in a match against a Newcastle side boosted by a 44-8 destruction of the Bulldogs last Sunday. That result marked a remarkable transformation for the Knights just a week after theyd conceded 44 unanswered points in a 14-44 loss to Canberra.


The match is the third leg of todays triple header which started with the Auckland Vulcans taking on the Knights in the New South Wales Cup before the NYC contest between the Vodafone Junior Warriors and their Newcastle counterparts


Todays match is Lillymans 149th career appearance leaving him set to mark his 150th against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on June 3. Halfback Shaun Johnson is set for his 49th appearance.


VODAFONE WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS


Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

4.05pm, Sunday, May 26

Referees: Gerrard Sutton and Luke Phillips


VODAFONE WARRIORS


1KEVIN LOCKE

18GLEN FISIIAHI

3DANE NIELSEN

17CARLOS TUIMAVAVE

5MANU VATUVEI

6THOMAS LEULUAI

7SHAUN JOHNSON

8SAM RAPIRA

9NATHAN FRIEND

10RUSSELL PACKER

11FELETI MATEO

12SIMON MANNERING (c)

16ELIJAH TAYLOR

Interchange:

14BEN MATULINO

15JACOB LILLYMAN

22PITA GODINET

24SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO


HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT