Michael Sio is promoted from the bench to start at loose forward in the Vodafone Warriors' New South Wales Cup encounter with Wyong today. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

VODAFONE WARRIORS v WYONG ROOS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

5.10pm, Saturday, June 21

Referee: Aaron Donald

 

Michael Sio will start at loose forward with David Bhana coming onto the bench in a late change to the Vodafone Warriors’ side for today’s 15th-round New South Wales encounter with the Wyong Roos at Mount Smart Stadium (5.10pm kick-off).

Out of the originally named line-up is regular starting loose forward John Palavi.

The Vodafone Warriors come into the match seeking to consolidate their spot in the top four after last week’s 16-12 victory over the Sharks elevated them to fourth.

It’s just the fifth time in 15 games that the team has played in Auckland so far this season. In their first 14 games the Vodafone Warriors have had eight wins, a draw and five losses.

 

FIVE KEY FEATURES

#1 DOMINIQUE PEYROUWX AND DANE NIELSEN | The side’s two most-experienced NRL players offer plenty of defensive strength in the centres. They count more than 130 NRL appearances between them.

#2 UPU POCHING, AGNATIUS PAASI, ABRAHAM PAPALII AND ALBERT VETE | Same as last week. With Charles P Gubb playing for the NRL side and Nathaniel Peteru injured, they face another tough assignment against a pack which includes legendary Mark O’Meley.

#3 NGATAUA HUKATAI | Hukatai last week became the 40th player used by the Vodafone Warriors in the New South Wales Cup this year. He marked his debut with the match-winning try in the 16-12 win against Cronulla.

#4 SILIVA HAVILI | This is another chance for Havili to get some big minutes after his bench appearances for the NRL side. He had plenty of game time against Cronulla in Gisborne last week.

#5 MICHAEL SIO | The Toa Samoa international has a key role to fill doing the job in the middle as John Palavi’s replacement. He makes his 13th appearance today in a season in which he has alternated between hooker and the back row.

 

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

17       MICHAEL SIO

Interchange:

14       SAM LOUSI

15       ALBERT VETE

16       ABRAHAM PAPALII

20       DAVID BHANA

COACH: ROHAN SMITH

 

COVERAGE

Live coverage on SKY Sport 2 at 5.10pm.