NRL PREVIEW | Havili to start
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS v VODAFONE WARRIORS
7.30pm, Saturday, June 7
Referees: Jared Maxwell and Dave Munro
Kiwi hooker Siliva Havili will make his first NRL start in the only late change for the Vodafone Warriors’ 13th-round clash against South Sydney at nibStadium in Perth tonight (7.30pm kick-off local time; 11.30pm NZT).
Head coach Andrew McFadden has confirmed 185-game veteran Nathan Friend will be on the interchange enabling rookie Havili to mark his sixth NRL outing as the starting hooker.
Havili had 35 minutes off the bench against Gold Coast two weeks ago and only 23 minutes against Newcastle last Sunday.
The rest of the team is as named earlier this week as the Vodafone Warriors seek to register their first win in six attempts at three different venues in Perth.
They met the Rabbitohs at nibStadium last year, played Manly at Patersons Stadium (Subiaco Oval) in 2012 and have also played at the WACA in the past.
They go into the contest chasing a third straight win and their fifth in their last six matches.
The Vodafone Warriors have a six wins-six losses record and sit 12th on 12 points, just outside the top eighth; South Sydney’s record is only marginally better at seven wins and five losses but sit fifth on the ladder.
FIVE KEY FEATURES
#1 PERTH | The Vodafone Warriors have played the now-defunct Western Reds (twice), Cronulla, Manly and South Sydney in Perth without a win. Will they come up with another first in 2014 tonight?
#2 SILIVA HAVILI | This will be a big night in what has been a big year for the rookie hooker. A first-time Kiwi international and NRL debutant he starts for the first time marking South Sydney’s explosive Kiwi Issac Luke.
#3 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO | Ikahihifo made his NRL debut in Perth two years ago (against Manly at Patersons Stadium). He is back in Western Australia as an NRL regular making his ninth consecutive appearance of the season tonight.
#4 KONRAD HURRELL | The bullocking centre makes his 47th NRL appearance tonight looking to continue his impressive try-scoring strike rate after crossing for his fourth try of the year last week (he has 29 career tries so far).
#5 JACOB LILLYMAN | ‘Bull’ keeps producing performances worthy of regaining a place in Queensland’s Origin side. Outstanding again against Newcastle last week with 141 metres from 14 carries as well as 25 tackles.
1 SAM TOMKINS
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
3 KONRAD HURRELL
4 NGANI LAUMAPE
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 CHAD TOWNSEND
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JACOB LILLYMAN
14 SILIVA HAVILI
10 SUAIA MATAGI
11 JAYSON BUKUYA
12 BEN MATULINO
13 SIMON MANNERING (c)
9 NATHAN FRIEND
15 SAM RAPIRA
16 FELETI MATEO
17 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
HEAD COACH: ANDREW McFADDEN