NYC PREVIEW | Halves reunited
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v BRISBANE BRONCOS
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
3.10pm, Saturday, June 21
Referees: Peter Gough and Tim Rutherford
Mason Lino and Ata Hingano are back in harness for the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 15th-round NYC clash against high-flying Brisbane at Mount Smart Stadium today (3.10pm kick-off local time; match day sponsor: flava).
They were paired in the halves for the first time when the 17-year-old Hingano made his debut in the fifth-round against Cronulla but were later separated when Lino moved up to make four appearances for the club’s New South Wales Cup side.
They were reunited for the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ first outing of the year at Mount Smart Stadium against Newcastle on June 1, an occasion which coincided with Lino making his 50th NYC appearance.
The day panned out well for Lino as he guided the side to an impressive 34-22 win against the then top-placed Knights. It wasn’t so memorable for Hingano, though, when he was unable to complete the match after taking a heavy knock in the first half.
He was ruled out of the team’s last outing on June 13, a 26-28 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
That match was a major disappointment for the Vodafone Junior Warriors as they gave up a 16-0 lead, allowing Souths to score 28 unanswered points either side of the halftime break before making a late comeback to lose by two points.
FIVE KEY FEATURES
#1 MOUNT SMART STADIUM | Just the second outing of the season at Mount Smart Stadium is a huge boost for the team. Last time out the Vodafone Junior Warriors did a terrific job beating Newcastle despite losing Ata Hingano and Kurt Robinson.
#2 KURT ROBINSON | Robinson was forced off the field early against Newcastle and also missed the South Sydney clash. His return is timely against challenging opposition in the Broncos; he’ll give the side direction out of dummy half.
#3 ATA HINGANO | While he’s only 17, Hingano has underlined his promise in his first eight NYC appearances. His playmaking quality has been on display as he has shown why the Vodafone Warriors rate him so highly.
#4 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD | Used in the second row against Souths, the adaptable Tuimavave-Gerrard answers the call by lining up in the centres. He gives the team value wherever he’s used with his high work-rate.
#5 METIA LISATI | While injury has restricted him to only six NYC games so far he has maintained a high strike-rate, his two tries against South Sydney giving him seven so far this season. He carried the ball 157 metres against Souths.
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS
1 BRAD ABBEY
2 PAUL ULBERG
3 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD
4 KEN MAUMALO
5 METIA LISATI
6 MAFOA’AEATA HINGANO
7 MASON LINO (c)
8 IULIO AFOA
9 KURT ROBINSON
10 KOUMA SAMSON
11 OFAHIKI OGDEN
12 MATIU LOVE-HENRY
13 JAMES BELL
14 NATHANIEL ROACHE
15 TOAFOFOA SIPLEY
16 JAZZ TEVAGA
17 SEMISI TYRELL
COACH: STACEY JONES
Live coverage on SKY Sport 2 at 3.10pm.