Ben Henry will start in the centres and Konrad Hurrell has been added to the bench for the Vodafone Warriors’ Anzac Day NRL clash against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park tonight (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).
In his return from a knee injury last week Henry was outstanding during his 54-minute shift from the bench, making 28 tackles with just one miss and backing up his defensive workload with 54 metres from seven carries.
He comes into the centres for the experienced Dane Nielsen, who was named on Tuesday but will be 18th man tonight.
After playing for the Vodafone Warriors’ New South Wales Cup side against the Illawarra Cutters last week, Hurrell is back for his fifth NRL outing of the year.
His first NRL appearance this season was also of the bench when he was used predominantly as an impact back rower against North Queensland in the side’s third-round win in Townsville.
The rest of the squad is as named as the Vodafone Warriors head into the sixth edition of their annual Anzac Day encounter with the Storm. Of the five so far, the Vodafone Warriors have won one (2011), drawn one (2009) and lost three.
In 33 matches between the two clubs since 1998, the Vodafone Warriors have won 14, drawn two and lost 17. Only Canterbury-Bankstown (17 wins) has had more victories against the Storm.
MELBOURNE STORM v VODAFONE WARRIORS
AAMI Park, Melbourne
6.00pm (8.00pm NZT), Friday, April 25
Referees: Ashley Klein and Adam Gee
FIVE KEY FEATURES
#1 BEATING THE STORM | The Vodafone Warriors, current holders of the Michael Moore Trophy, boast one of the best records against Melbourne. The last 13 encounters between the two sides have been split evenly with six wins each and one draw.
#2 BEN HENRY | In his first game back from injury Henry was used as a back rower against the Dragons but this week has the mission of stiffening up the side’s centres where he’s set to mark Justin O’Neill. It’s a huge night for him.
#3 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO | Ikahihifo distinguished himself with a quality effort in the middle of the park last week, earning the players’ player of the day accolade after some powerful carries and some brutal defence.
#4 ANZAC DAY TRADITION | The Sydney Roosters-St George Illawarra match in Sydney tends attract all the publicity and fanfare but this match in Melbourne is the truest example of what a traditional Anzac Day contest should be.
#5 FELETI MATEO | After two appearances for the club’s New South Wales Cup side, the veteran’s 169th NRL match tonight will be one of his most important as he seeks to re-establish himself in the side with a quality all-round contribution.
1 SAM TOMKINS
2 DAVID FUSITUA
14 BEN HENRY
4 NGANI LAUMAPE
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 CHAD TOWNSEND
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 SAM RAPIRA
9 NATHAN FRIEND
10 JACOB LILLYMAN
11 JAYSON BUKUYA
13 SIMON MANNERING (c)
20 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
15 SUAIA MATAGI
16 SILIVA HAVILI
17 FELETI MATEO
20 KONRAD HURRELL
HEAD COACH: ANDREW McFADDEN
BETTING – WWW.TAB.CO.NZ
Head to head:
Vodafone Warriors $3.00, Storm $1.35
SKY SPORT 2: Live at 8.00pm NZT.