VODAFONE WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
11.40am, Sunday, June 1
Referee: Aaron Donald.
Kevin Locke has made a swift recovery from injury to start for the Vodafone Warriors in their 12th-round encounter with Newcastle at Mount Smart Stadium today (11.40am kick-off; match day sponsor: Canterbury of New Zealand).
Locke was due to have his first NRL start against Gold Coast last week after being named on the right win for what would have been his 90th first-grade appearance.
However, he injured an ankle at training and was replaced by David Fusitu’a, who went on to be one of the standout players in the Vodafone Warriors’ win against the Titans.
While Kiwi fullback Locke wasn’t initially selected to line up for the NSW Cup side he has been brought in to start on the wing. He comes in for Jarred Wilson.
Also coming back into the side is Tuimoala Lolohea, who has been with the NRL squad as cover for halfback Shaun Johnson the last two weeks. Lolohea is named to start at halfback replacing the originally-named Sam Cook.
The rest of the line-up is as named.
Following results in matches played yesterday, the Vodafone Warriors slipped to seventh on the points table and the Knights to ninth.
The Vodafone Warriors are striving for a third straight win today. If they snare the victory they would move to 17 points and possibly into fifth spot, just a point behind three teams on 18 points and three behind leader Wentworthville.
FIVE KEY FEATURES
#1 KEVIN LOCKE | Locke was set to have his first start for the club’s NRL side last week but was forced out with an ankle injury. He has recovered quickly to earn a late call-up for his fourth New South Wales Cup appearance,
#2 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE | Whether he plays in the centres or at standoff, he has a significant influence. He was used in the centres against the North Sydney Bears last week scoring two tries in the side’s 36-22 win.
#3 JOHN PALAVI | Palavi started the season by playing his first two NRL games but has since been a key contributor to the New South Wales Cup side. This will be his ninth match of the season, providing the glue in the middle.
#4 STEVE WAETFORD | Waetford, like Carlos Tuimavave, offers ample value with his versatility. He has alternated between fullback and standoff throughout the season. He lines up for his 11th appearance today.
#5 ALBERT VETE | The big front rower has been named to make his return to the side today, included on the bench for his seventh appearance of the season. An ankle injury has limited his opportunities so far.
1 STEVE WAETFORD (c)
2 JARROD TUA
3 SOLOMONE KATA
4 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
23 KEVIN LOCKE
6 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE
24 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
8 CHARLES P GUBB
9 MICHAEL SIO
10 NATHANIEL PETERU
11 MICHAEL KI
12 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER
13 JOHN PALAVI
14 ABRAHAM PAPALII
15 UPU POCHING
16 ALBERT VETE
17 DAVID BHANA
COACH: ROHAN SMITH
Live on SKY Sport 2 from 11.30am.