SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS v VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS
Redfern Oval, Sydney
2.00pm, Saturday, June 7
Referee: Lawrence McDonnell
Prop Paul Tuli becomes the 17th NYC debutant for the Vodafone Junior Warriors this season after being brought onto the bench for the club’s 13th-round clash against South Sydney at Redfern Oval today (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).
The 19-year-old Mangere East Hawks junior has come into the squad following the injury-enforced withdrawal of the experienced Sam Lisone.
Tuli’s inclusion is one of a number of changes to the line-up with standoff Ata Hingano and hooker Kurt Robinson also forced out with injury.
Returning from the injured list to replace Hingano is Mikaere Beattie while Nathaniel Roache comes off the bench to start at hooker.
Added to the bench alongside Tuli is hooker Jazz Tevaga while the other two interchange players are original selections Toafofoa Sipley.
Tuli, a New Zealand Residents 18 representative last year, is a big front rower at 188cm and 110kg while Tevaga will make his sixth NYC appearance.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors will be seeking their third straight win and their fourth in their last five matches. In their last four outings they’ve beaten Canberra (54-0), lost to Canterbury-Bankstown (30-31) and had wins against Gold Coast (20-16) and Newcastle (34-22).
After celebrating his landmark 50th NYC game with a 14-point haul last week, captain Mason Lino has the chance today to bring up 100 points in a season for the third year running. His tally is sitting on 96 at the moment while he is only 13 short of becoming only the second player from the club to bring up 400 career points in the NYC (Shaun Johnson was the first) in 2010.
FIVE KEY FEATURES
#1 MASON LINO | Without the experienced of prop Sam Lisone and hooker Kurt Robinson, Lino will shoulder added responsibility today. He had a superb 50th NYC game last week with a try, try assist, two line breaks and two line break assists.
#2 MIKAERE BEATTIE | The Waikato product returns from injury to replace the now-injured Ata Hingano. He played at halfback in his first two appearances when he teamed up with Hingano in a young halves pairing.
#3 NGATAUA HUKATAI | The King’s College product is the next in line to make 50 NYC appearances for the club, playing his 48th game today. In his second game back from injury last week he made 86 metres from eight runs.
#4 NATHANIEL ROACHE | Roache made a big contribution coming on for the injured Kurt Robinson against the Knights with a try, two try assists, a line break, a line break assist, two off loads, 76 metres from 11 runs and 30 tackles.
#5 BUNTY AFOA, KOUMA SAMSON AND TOAFOFOA SIPLEY | The three front rowers have added responsibility, needing to produce more minutes and numbers with the outstanding Sam Lisone out of action.
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS
1 BRAD ABBEY
2 PAUL ULBERG
3 NGATAUA HUKATAI
4 KEN MAUMALO
5 METIA LISATI
22 MIKAERE BEATTIE
7 MASON LINO (c)
8 IULIO AFOA
14 NATHANIEL ROACHE
17 KOUMA SAMSON
11 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD
12 MATIU LOVE-HENRY
13 OFAHIKI OGDEN
15 TOAFOFOA SIPLEY
16 JAMES BELL
20 JAZZ TEVAGA
21 PAUL TULI
COACH: STACEY JONES