Vodafone Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins is reunited with brother Joel in England's Four Nations squad. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

NRL PREVIEW | NO CHANGES

Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott takes an as-named line-up into tonight’s NRL first-round clash against the Eels at Pirtek Stadium (6.30 kick-off local time; 8.30 NZT).

Jerome Ropati is the 18th man.

 

PARRAMATTA EELS v VODAFONE WARRIORS

 

Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta

6.30pm, Sunday, March 09

Referees: Adam Devcich and Henry Perenara.

 

FIVE KEY FEATURES

 

#1 MATTHEW ELLIOTT: Goes into his second season with improved playing resources after three smart signings in Sam Tomkins, Chad Townsend and Jayson Bukuya. He also feels the squad is in better shape overall than it was this time last season.

 

#2 FIRST-UP VICTORIES: Today’s mission is singular for the Vodafone Warriors – to put an end to their poor starts to campaigns. They’ve lost their last four matches in the opening round of the season. The last success was against the Eels in 2009, a side they also beat first up in 2007, the only first-round wins in the last 11 years.

 

#3 SAM TOMKINS: Achieved so much for Wigan in the Super League but now he will be right in the NRL spotlight. Was outstanding for the Vodafone Warriors in the NRL Nines and also more significantly in the club’s final NRL trial against the Broncos. His game is built on high intensity, high involvement and a great range of skills.

 

#4 JOHN PALAVI: Makes his first-grade debut after being close to selection in 2012. A high achiever throughout his schooling life, Palavi’s NYC career covered four seasons from 2009-2012, rising to captain in 2012. A New South Wales Cup regular last year, he impressed coaching staff and team-mates with his work in the offseason and his form in the trials.

 

#5 MANU VATUVEI AND DANE NIELSEN: The left edge specialists provide the Vodafone Warriors with enormous experience. Against that they’re both coming into this game without any game time in the trials. Vatuvei’s try-scoring deeds are exceptional. He has been the club’s top or equal top try scorer every season since 2007.

 

 

TEAMS

 

PARRAMATTA EELS

 

1 JARRYD HAYNE

2 SEMI RADRADRA

3 WILL HOPOATE

4 WILLIE TONGA

5 VAI TOUTAI

6 COREY NORMAN

7 LUKE KELLY

8 TIM MANNAH

9 NATHAN PEATS

10 FUIFUI MOIMOI

11 BEN SMITH

12 MANU MA'U

13 KENNY EDWARDS

Interchange:

14 JOSEPH PAULO

15 PENI TEREPO

16 DARCY LUSSICK

17 KELEPI TANGINOA

18 DAVID GOWER

19 MITCH ALLGOOD

 

COACH: BRAD ARTHUR

 

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

 

1 SAM TOMKINS

2 GLEN FISIIAHI

3 DANE NIELSEN

4 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE

5 MANU VATUVEI

6 CHAD TOWNSEND

7 SHAUN JOHNSON

8 SAM RAPIRA

9 NATHAN FRIEND

10 BEN MATULINO

11 JAYSON BUKUYA

12 SIMON MANNERING (c)

13 JOHN PALAVI

Interchange:

14 JACOB LILLYMAN

15 SUAIA MATAGI

16 SIONE LOUSI

17 FELETI MATEO

 

HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT

 

 

BETTING – WWW.TAB.CO.NZ

 

FIND ODDS FOR VODAFONE WARRIORS v PARRAMATTA

 

Head to head: Parramatta $2.35, Vodafone Warriors $1.55.