NRL UPDATE: Manly v Vodafone Warriors

Jacob Lillyman is in the starting line-up again for what will be his 96th NRL appearance for the Vodafone Warriors. Photo: Photosport


The Vodafone Warriors have the same opportunity for the second time in the space of two games when they face the Manly Sea Eagles in todays critical 22nd-round NRL clash against Manly at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).


Victory against Cronulla last Saturday would have lifted them into the top eight for the first time this season.


Having missed out on the opportunity theyre presented with the same opening today. A second win over Manly this season would elevate them to 24 points, level with Canberra but in eighth place on points for and against.


They face up to the in-form Manly with an unchanged squad for the third straight match.


Ben Matulino goes to the bench in jersey No 10 while Jacob Lillyman starts in No 15. The only other change is in a jersey number for centre Konrad Hurrell. Hell wear No 21. Jerome Ropati is the 18th man.


Props Sam Rapira and Jacob Lillyman plus captain Simon Mannering will move another step towards landmarks today.


The trip to Gosford, a venue the Vodafone Warriors have played at only once before, will see Rapira register his 147th NRL appearance since his debut in 2006. It means hell stay on track to reach his 150th milestone game when the Vodafone Warriors play their last home game of the regular season against Canberra on Saturday, August 31. It coincides with the clubs now traditional old boys day.


Rapiras front row partner Lillyman brings up his 96th game for the club on Sunday, leaving him set to reach the 100-game mark in the last regular season outing against St George Illawarra in Wollongong. Having brought up his 150th career appearance earlier in the campaign, Lillyman would be the only player this season to reach 100 games for the Vodafone Warriors.


Mannering will be playing his 184th game this weekend, leaving him just one short of joining Lance Hohaia in third spot on the clubs all-time list (ahead of them are Logan Swann on 195 and Stacey Jones on 261).


Four players Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Feleti Mateo and Ben Matulino havent missed a game this year; theyll make their 20th straight appearances in this campaign, Mateo his 72nd on end since joining the Vodafone Warriors in 2011.


Johnson and Leuluai will achieve the distinction of being the only halves pairing among all 16 clubs to start every game so far this season. South Sydneys Adam Reynolds and John Sutton were in tandem all 19 games until this weekend but Sutton has been ruled out for up to four weeks with a hand injury.


Along with St George Illawarras ex-Vodafone Warrior Nathan Fien, Leuluai is the only half who has been on the field every minute of the season so far.


The Manly Sea Eagles take compelling form into the contest. Since losing 12-18 to the competition-leading Sydney Roosters theyve beaten Parramatta 50-10, North Queensland 34-14, Gold Coast 38-20, Wests Tigers 36-18 and Parramatta again 40-6. The run of results has lifted them to third on the ladder on 29 points.


In their only match in Gosford, the Vodafone Warriors beat the then-Northern Eagles 24-16 in 2001.


VODAFONE WARRIORS v MANLY SEA EAGLES


Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

2.00pm, Sunday, August 11

Referees: Jared Maxwell and Brett Suttor


VODAFONE WARRIORS


1KEVIN LOCKE

2NGANI LAUMAPE

3DANE NIELSEN

21KONRAD HURRELL

5MANU VATUVEI

6THOMAS LEULUAI

7SHAUN JOHNSON

8SAM RAPIRA

9NATHAN FRIEND

15JACOB LILLYMAN

11FELETI MATEO

12SIMON MANNERING (c)

13ELIJAH TAYLOR

Interchange:

14SUAIA MATAGI

10BEN MATULINO

16TODD LOWRIE

17DOMINIQUE PEYROUX


HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT