TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Vodafone Warriors v Raiders

Prop Sam Rapira will become the ninth player to make 150 NRL appearances for the Vodafone Warriors when he lines up against Canberra in Saturdays 25th-round encounter at Mount Smart Stadium (5.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Vodafone). Photo: Photosport


The 26-year-old will join current team-mates Simon Mannering (186 games) and Manu Vatuvei (169 games) who are already members of the Vodafone Warriors 150 club.


The other players who make up the elite group are Rapiras former team-mates Stacey Jones (261), Logan Swann (195), Lance Hohaia (185), Awen Guttenbeil (170), Wairangi Koopu (159) and Micheal Luck (150).


While Rapira will have Mannering and Vatuvei alongside him once again, Jones, Swann, Guttenbeil and Koopu will also be on hand to celebrate his achievement when they link up with a group of more than 20 former players for the annual Old Boys Day, now established as a feature of the final home game of the season.


Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott encouraged members and fans to turn out to both salute Rapira and to lend their support to the team for another critical contest.


Its impossible to say enough about what Sam means to our team and to our club overall. Hes one of our unsung players and hes vital to how we perform, he said.


Its great hes able to achieve such an important milestone in front of his family and friends as well as old boys and former team-mates. It also comes in what will be a tremendously tough contest for us.


Weve had terrific support throughout the season so far, both here and away. We certainly appreciated the way members and fans turned out against the Titans last week, especially those members who travelled over from New Zealand. They were really impressive.


Wed invite everyone to come along this weekend to help us as much as possible. It makes a huge difference to the players out there in the heat of battle when a big crowd is in making plenty of noise.


While Rapira brings up game No 150 this week, fellow front rower Jacob Lillyman will make his 99th appearance for the Vodafone Warriors leaving him in line to play his 100th in Saturday weeks last regular season match against St George Illawarra in Wollongong. Centre Dane Nielsen is set to make his 97th career appearance.


Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Feleti Mateo and Ben Matulino will all extend their sequences of playing in every match this year; Leuluai has been on the field every single minute of all 22 matches.


With his try against Gold Coast last weekend centre Konrad Hurrell is now leading the try-scoring race this season with 13 in 18 games 25 for his career in 35 matches just ahead of Vatuvei with 12 in 17 games.


The Vodafone Warriors go into the match as one of five teams on 24 points, the current cut-off for the top eight. Newcastle is seventh on 25 followed by North Queensland, Gold Coast, Penrith, the Vodafone Warriors and Canberra all on 24.


CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS TO CANBERRA MATCH


Tickets also available from Mad Butcher outlets at Albany, Glen Innes, Mangere East, Manukau and Takanini


VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANBERRA RAIDERS


Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

5.00pm, Saturday, August 31

Referees: Gavin Badger and Alan Shortall


VODAFONE WARRIORS


1KEVIN LOCKE

2JEROME ROPATI

3DANE NIELSEN

4KONRAD HURRELL

5MANU VATUVEI

6THOMAS LEULUAI

7SHAUN JOHNSON

8SAM RAPIRA

9NATHAN FRIEND

10SUAIA MATAGI

11ELIJAH TAYLOR

12SIMON MANNERING (c)

13TODD LOWRIE

Interchange:

14BEN MATULINO

15JACOB LILLYMAN

16FELETI MATEO

17DOMINIQUE PEYROUX

18NGANI LAUMAPE


HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT