NYC PREVIEW | Aiming for two straight
Big day for Vodafone Junior Warriors hooker Kurt Robinson who plays in front of family and friends at Westpac Stadium today. Photo: Photosport.
After securing their first win of the season against the Cowboys last week, the Vodafone Junior Warriors will aim to go back-to-back when they take on Wests Tigers in today’s fourth-round NYC match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington (12.40pm kick-off).
The Stacey Jones-coached side gave the Cowboys a nine tries-to-two 50-12 pounding in Townsville with Tuimoala Lolohea and David Fusitua both snaring hat-tricks.
They’re not with the side this week, returning to line up for the Vodafone Warriors in today’s New South Wales Cup encounter at 2.40pm.
Jones has made just one change to his starting line-up with Iulio ‘Bunty’ Afoa again starting in the front row and James Taylor operating from the bench (as happened in Townsville).
Mangere East junior Ofahiki Ogden (17), a big prop-second rower, will make his NYC debut today.
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
12.40pm, Saturday, March 29
Referee: Chris Butler
FIVE KEY FEATURES
#1 KURT ROBINSON | A big game for the Lower Hutt-born and raised hooker playing in front of friends and family at Westpac Stadium. He makes his fourth consecutive start this season, coming off a good contribution in last week’s big win over the Cowboys when he made 45 metres from five runs and added 22 tackles and a line break assist.
#2 KEN MAUMALO | The tall centre had a taste of the action a little closer in when he was used in the second row against the Cowboys. He delivered almost 100 metres from 11 runs, made 14 tackles, four tackle breaks and had one try assist, two line break assists and two off loads. He’s back in the centres today.
#3 MICHAEL KI | Another player making his fourth straight appearance this year, Ki made 120 metres from 10 runs against the Cowboys as well as making 21 tackles and providing a try assist. He has joined the club after making two NYC appearances for Parramatta last year.
#4 MASON LINO | The steady Lino has been consistent, excelling against the Cowboys with two tries and seven goals for a total of 22 points giving him 38 in three games so far. He made three line breaks and five tackle breaks against the Cowboys. He’s reunited with the promising Nathaniel Roache today.
#5 SAM LISONE | Lisone has been a colossus inn his two appearances for the Vodafone Junior Warriors this season. He backed up his players’ player of the day effort against the Dragons with another strong showing in Townsville when he made 131 metres from 12 runs, five tackle breaks and two off loads.
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS
1 BRAD ABBEY
2 METIA LISATI
3 LAFU FEAGAIGA
4 KEN MAUMALO
5 BRAXTON STANLEY
6 NATHANIEL ROACHE
7 MASON LINO (c)
8 SAM LISONE (c)
9 KURT ROBINSON
10 JAMES TAYLOR
11 MICHAEL KI
12 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD
13 KOUMA SAMSON
14 OFAHIKI OGDEN
15 JORDAN BALDWINSON
16 JAZZ TEVAGA
17 BUNTY AFOA
COACH: STACEY JONES
Live on SKY Sport 2 from 12.30pm.