Ben Matulino will start in the second row and Jacob Lillyman at prop in the Vodafone Warriors’ sixth--round NRL clash against Canterbury-Bankstown at Eden Park today (4.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: SKYCITY).
The switch follows confirmation Jayson Bukuya is out of the match with a foot injury which restricted him to just 25 minutes against his old Cronulla side last week.
Matulino returns to the position he started out in when he debuted in the NYC in 2008. He also played in the second row when the Vodafone Warriors trounced Brisbane in their NRL trial in Dunedin in February.
Lillyman, who has just signed a new three-year contract with the club, comes into the starting line-up after a string on impressive displays off the bench in the first five rounds of the season. The 30-year-old former Queensland State of Origin has been averaging close to 140 metres a game and has twice been named the players’ player of the day. He’ll collect his prizes at tonight’s ‘Meet the Team’ event at the Atrium Sports Bar at SKYCITY.
Returning for just his second NRL appearance today is prop Charles P Gubb who is joined on the bench by debutant hooker Siliva Havili (he becomes Vodafone Warrior No 190). The other two players on the interchange are prop Suaia Matagi and utility Dominique Peyroux.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN
Eden Park, Auckland
4.00pm, Sunday, April 13
Referees: Ben Cummins and Brett Suttor
SIX KEY FEATURES
#1 SILIVA HAVILI | Heralded as the Vodafone Warriors’ future hooker when he first appeared on the NYC scene, Havili earns his call-up as Warrior No 190. He has come through both the club’s NYC and New South Wales Cup teams.
#2 CHARLES P GUBB | The Wellington product earns his second NRL outing after making his debut in Perth last year. He represented the club in the NRL Nines and has continued to impress in the New South Wales Cup.
#3 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX | Peyroux, like Havili and Gubb, has earned his call-up through his performances for the club’s New South Wales Cup side. The players’ player of the day last week, he made 12 NRL appearances last year.
#4 BEN MATULINO | In his 138th NRL game, Matulino goes back to where he started lining up in the second row after being a starting prop in the previous five games this season. He comes in for the injured Jayson Bukuya.
#5 SIMON MANNERING | The outstanding captain has given the club a massive boost by signing a new four-year deal to the end of the 2018 season. It will extend his career with the club to 14 seasons.
#6 ANDREW McFADDEN | And lastly a sixth key feature this week has to be new head coach Andrew McFadden, who faces a baptism of fire coming into the job on Monday to take over in challenging circumstances.
1 SAM TOMKINS
2 NGANI LAUMAPE
3 DANE NIELSEN
4 KONRAD HURRELL
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 THOMAS LEULUAI
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 SAM RAPIRA
9 NATHAN FRIEND
14 JACOB LILLYMAN
10 BEN MATULINO
12 SIMON MANNERING (c)
13 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
15 SUAIA MATAGI
16 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
17 CHARLIE GUBB
18 SILIVA HAVILI
HEAD COACH: ANDREW McFADDEN
BETTING – WWW.TAB.CO.NZ
FIND ODDS FOR VODAFONE WARRIORS v BULLDOGS
Head to head:
Vodafone Warriors $2.00, Bulldogs $1.75
SKY SPORT 2: Live at 4.00pm.