NRL UPDATE: Vodafone Warriors v Canberra

Jerome Ropati switches to the centres and Ngani Laumape will start on the right wing in the Vodafone Warriors 25th-round encounter at Mount Smart Stadium today (5.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Vodafone).


The changes were brought about following confirmation centre Dane Nielsen had been ruled out yesterday.


Ropati (28) played just his third match of the season last week, scoring two tries on the right wing in the 24-22 win over Gold Coast.


Today match mark a major career moment for veteran prop Sam Rapira, who makes his 150th appearance for the club, just the ninth player to reach the mark in the Vodafone Warriors history.


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.


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.


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 27 followed by North Queensland, Gold Coast, Penrith, the Vodafone Warriors and Canberra all on 24.


VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANBERRA RAIDERS


Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

5.00pm, Saturday, August 31

Referees: Gavin Badger and Alan Shortall


VODAFONE WARRIORS


1KEVIN LOCKE

18NGANI LAUMAPE

2JEROME ROPATI

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


HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT