VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANBERRA RAIDERS
GIO Stadium, Canberra
4.00pm, Sunday, August 03
Utility forward Sione Lousi has been brought onto the Vodafone Warriors’ bench for their 21st-round NRL game against the Raiders at GIO Stadium in Canberra today (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).
Lousi replaces Ben Henry (knee) in the second row for his sixth appearance this season but his first since the 10th-round encounter with Canterbury-Bankstown in Hamilton.
That day he left the field with a knee cartilage injury, subsequently having minor surgery before returning to action with the club’s New South Wales Cup side.
Lousi will make his 37th career appearance at NRL level today, teaming up with captain Simon Mannering and loose forward Sebastine Ikahihifo in the back row.
There’s one other change to the starting line-up named on Tuesday with Thomas Leuluai confirmed to start at halfback for the injury Shaun Johnson; this will be his third outing since returning from time on the sideline with his nagging groin injury. Tuimoala Lolohea is on the bench for his second NRL match alongside Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino and Sam Rapira.
The Vodafone Warriors are seeking only their second win at GIO Stadium since their sole success in 1997.
If they win they will move to seventh on the table on 24 points.
FIVE KEY FEATURES
#1 THOMAS LEULUAI AND CHAD TOWNSEND | In his third match back from injury, Leuluai will be to the forefront directing the side sharing the load with standoff Townsend who carried most of the responsibility last week.
#2 JACOB LILLYMAN AND SUAIA MATAGI | The starting props will be out to assert themselves from the outset, looking to give the side some dominance after being kept in check by the touch Manly forwards last week.
#3 MANU VATUVEI | The big man will be keen to get back on the try-scoring sheet today after just one try in his last six games (although he was desperately close to scoring a double against Manly last week).
#4 SIONE LOUSI | The big back rower-prop comes back for his first NRL game since facing the Bulldogs on May 18. Has the chance to start a little wider out on the right edge but is likely to be used in the middle as well.
#5 FELETI MATEO | His touches were missed when a calf injury kept him out of last Sunday’s encounter with Manly. He comes straight back filling the bench role which he has been doing so effectively recently.
1 SAM TOMKINS
2 NGANI LAUMAPE
3 KONRAD HURRELL
4 DANE NIELSEN
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 CHAD TOWNSEND
17 THOMAS LEULUAI
8 JACOB LILLYMAN
9 NATHAN FRIEND
10 SUAIA MATAGI
20 SIONE LOUSI
12 SIMON MANNERING (c)
13 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
14 FELETI MATEO
15 BEN MATULINO
16 SAM RAPIRA
18 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
HEAD COACH: ANDREW McFADDEN
BETTING – WWW.TAB.CO.NZ
Head to head | Canberra $2.25, Vodafone Warriors $1.60
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