TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Vodafone Warriors v Roosters

Matthew Elliott brings up his 250-game milestone as an NRL coach when the Vodafone Warriors face the Sydney Roosters in Sundays 14th-round encounter at Allianz Stadium (6.30pm kick-off local time; 8.30pm NZT). Photo: Photosport.


The 48-year-old arrived at the Vodafone Warriors with a career tally of 236 games as coach with Canberra and Penrith having earlier guided the Bradford Bulls in 125 games in England.


Elliott, though, is much less interested in the landmark than he is in the Vodafone Warriors progress following their three-game winning run after the grim night at Penrith on May 18.


Today he named the same side originally selected for last Sundays battle with the Manly Sea Eagles with Kevin Locke returning at fullback from a hip flexor injury, Glen Fisiiahi back on the right wing and prop Russell Packer recovered from his sternum injury.


At the same time Elliott has named a seven-man bench. Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Dominique Peyroux are again listed along with last Sundays two replacements winger Ngani Laumape and prop Suaia Matagi as well as front rower Charlie Gubb, who was used as 18th man against Manly.


Were optimistic Kevin and Russell will both be ready for the Roosters, said Elliott.


Theyre obviously important players for us but Ngani and Suaia did a terrific job coming in as replacements and Glen was outstanding, picking up the players player of the day award.


Well see how we progress through the rest of the week.


Both coaching staff and players valued Sundays hard-earned 18-16 win over fourth-placed Manly as the clubs most important so far, Elliott describing it as the most meaningful because it was achieved against a side of such quality.


But he quickly switched focus to say the encounter with the Roosters now became even more important.


When the two sides met in the second round at Eden Park, the Roosters held out the fast-finishing Vodafone Warriors for a 16-14 win. Since then the Roosters have gone on to fashion a nine wins-three losses record to sit third in the competition while the Vodafone Warriors have a 5-8 record to lie 13th but with their recent form among the best in the competition.


While theyve scored 102 points in their last three wins the first run of three wins since July 2011 the defensive numbers have been the most rewarding. In conceding just 46 points theyve restricted Newcastle, Brisbane and Manly to 18 points or less, a feat they had achieved only once in the first 10 games (against the Roosters as it happens).


Across 15 seasons including four with Bradford in England (1997-2000), Elliott has had 374 games a head coach for a record reading: 206 wins, 7 draws, 161 losses. His winning strike rate is 55.08%.


VODAFONE WARRIORS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS


Allianz Stadium, Randwick

6.30pm, Sunday, June 16

Referees: Ashley Klein and Chris James


VODAFONE WARRIORS


1KEVIN LOCKE

2GLEN FISIIAHI

3DANE NIELSEN

4KONRAD HURRELL

5MANU VATUVEI

6THOMAS LEULUAI

7SHAUN JOHNSON

8SAM RAPIRA

9NATHAN FRIEND

10RUSSELL PACKER

11FELETI MATEO

12SIMON MANNERING (c)

13ELIJAH TAYLOR

Interchange:

14BEN MATULINO

15JACOB LILLYMAN

16SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO

17DOMINIQUE PEYROUX

18 NGANI LAUMAPE

20SUAIA MATAGI

24CHARLIE GUBB


HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT