Tuimoala Lolohea lines up for the Vodafone Junior Warriors for just the third time this season in Saturday's play-off against the Sydney Roosters. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

NSW CUP ROUND #15 | Making a mark

The Vodafone Warriors’ New South Wales Cup venture has been reaping significant rewards for the club’s football programme.

It was confirmed last October that the club would take over the previously-named Vulcans, appointing Rohan Smith as fulltime coach to provide a seamless link between the NYC and NRL sides.

The positives have been all too evident with a gritty 16-12 win over the Cronulla Sharks in Gisborne last weekend lifting the Vodafone Warriors into the top four for the first time this season. 

Going into this Saturday night’s clash against the Wyong Roos at Mount Smart Stadium (5.10pm kick-off), they’re on 19 points behind Penrith, Wentworthville and Wests Tigers.

The key benefits have come in player development. Already a total of 40 players have appeared for the side, many of them still NYC-eligible this year or in their first season out of the NYC ranks.

Nine of the 17 players named to face Wyong on Saturday have played for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in the last two seasons – wingers Ngataua Hukatai and Solomone Kata, halfback Tuimoala Lolohea, hooker Siliva Havili, second rowers Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Michael Ki and interchange forwards Albert Vete, Abraham Papalii and Michael Sio. Another five have all graduated from the club’s NYC side. The only exceptions are fullback Steve Waetford and centres Dominique Peyroux and Dane Nielsen.

In all 30 of the 40 players used in the NSW Cup side this season are current or former Vodafone Junior Warriors; and 15 of the 40 have appeared for the club’s NRL side this season at some stage with David Fusitu’a, Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape, Chad Townsend, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Feleti Mateo, Charlie Gubb and Ben Henry all selected to turn out for the Vodafone Warriors against Brisbane in Saturday night’s 15th-round NRL encounter at Mount Smart Stadium (7.30pm kick-off).

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v WYONG ROOS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

5.10pm, Saturday, June 21

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 STEVE WAETFORD (c)

2 NGATAUA HUKATAI

3 DANE NIELSEN

4 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX

5 SOLOMONE KATA

6 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE

7 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA

8 UPU POCHING

9 SILIVA HAVILI

10 AGNATIUS PAASI

11 MICHAEL KI

12 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER

13 JOHN PALAVI

Interchange:

14 SAM LOUSI

15 ALBERT VETE

16 ABRAHAM PAPALII

17 MICHAEL SIO

COACH: ROHAN SMITH