NSW CUP ROUND #16 | Potent opposition
The fifth-placed Vodafone Warriors test themselves against competition leading Penrith in Sunday’s 16th-round New South Wales Cup clash at Mount Smart Stadium (11.45am kick-off; match day sponsor: DEWALT).
Coming off a tight loss to Wyong, the home side will go into the contest without centre Dane Nielsen, who has been called into the club’s NRL line-up to replace the suspended Ngani Laumape.
In Nielsen’s absence, Solomone Kata has been moved into the centres with Jarrod Tua returning on the wing.
Also back in the side is loose forward John Palavi after filling the 18th man’s role for the NRL squad against Brisbane. His return results in Michael Sio going back to the bench.
With Nielsen not available this week, the Vodafone Warriors can call on only six players with NRL experience in centre Dominique Peyroux, standoff Carlos Tuimavave, prop Upu Poching, hooker Siliva Havili, loose forward John Palavi and interchange forward Sam Lousi.
In contrast Penrith has named a side including two players with State of Origin experience – one of whom has also appeared for the Kangaroos – and several others with NRL backgrounds.
In the centres is ex-Kangaroo Jamal Idris, also a 2010 New South Wales Origin representative, while one-game Origin prop Tim Grant is also included. Others with NRL experience are veteran hooker Kevin Kingston, winger Wes Naiqama, standoff Tom Humble, halfback Luke Capewell, prop Sam Anderson, second rowers Matt Robinson and Ben Murdoch-Masila, loose forward Ryan Simpkins and Tom Eisenhuth on the bench.
The Panthers top the competition with 26 points while the Vodafone Warriors are on 19 points.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
11.45am, Sunday, June 29
1 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
2 NGATAUA HUKATAI
3 SOLOMONE KATA
4 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
5 JARROD TUA
6 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE
7 STEVE WAETFORD
8 UPU POCHING
9 SILIVA HAVILI
10 AGNATIUS PAASI
11 MICHAEL KI
12 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER
13 JOHN PALAVI
14 MICHAEL SIO
15 ALBERT VETE
16 SAM LOUSI
17 DAVID BHANA
COACH: ROHAN SMITH