Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden has teamed up 22-year-olds Ben Henry and Konrad Hurrell as the team’s starting centres for Saturday’s ninth-round NRL clash against the Canberra Raiders at Eden Park (5.00pm kick-off).
Henry had Ngani Laumape as his centres partner in the 16-10 Anzac Day win over the Melbourne Storm with Hurrell being introduced to the contest from the interchange bench.
A reshuffle has been forced following the injury-enforced absence of winger David Fusitu’a, who is battling a shoulder injury he picked up against the Storm.
With Thomas Leuluai still troubled by an ongoing groin complaint, Chad Townsend will again partner Kiwi international Shaun Johnson in the halves.
McFadden has been able to name the same starting forward pack used at AAMI Park while he has selected a five-man bench including Kevin Locke, who is in contention to make his 88th NRL appearance and his first of the season. The others on the bench are Feleti Mateo, Suaia Matagi, the recalled Sione Lousi and the returning Ben Matulino, who missed the last two games through suspension.
“It’s a shame for David to miss out after doing really for us against the Dragons and the Storm,” he said.
“But we’re able to shift Ngani out to the wing again start with Ben and Konrad in the centres.”
McFadden said it was also a significant boost to have Matulino back in the front row mix with Sam Rapira, Jacob Lillyman and Matagi.
While the Vodafone Warriors go into the contest on the back of one of the most impressive victories in the club’s history, Canberra is coming off one of its most humiliating losses after being trounced 54-18 by Manly on April 27.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANBERRA RAIDERS
Eden Park, Auckland
5.00pm, Saturday, May 10
1 SAM TOMKINS
2 NGANI LAUMAPE
3 KONRAD HURRELL
4 BEN HENRY
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 CHAD TOWNSEND
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 SAM RAPIRA
9 NATHAN FRIEND
10 JACOB LILLYMAN
11 JAYSON BUKUYA
12 SIMON MANNERING (c)
13 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
14 FELETI MATEO
15 SUAIA MATAGI
16 SIONE LOUSI
17 BEN MATULINO
18 KEVIN LOCKE