Mason Lino crosses against Parramatta, one of his seven tries so far this season for the Vodafone Junior Warriors. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

NYC ROUND #23 | Lino boost

Halfback Mason Lino has given the Vodafone Junior Warriors a timely boost with his scheduled return from a month-long injury lay-off in Sunday’s 23rd-round NYC encounter with top of the table Newcastle at Hunter Stadium (11.45am kick-off local time; 1.45pm NZT).

The side’s most experienced NYC campaigner has been sidelined with a shoulder injury missing the last four games against Brisbane, Manly, Canberra and Cronulla.

In his absence the Vodafone Junior Warriors coped well by trouncing the Broncos 40-18 in Brisbane and then rebounding from a disappointing loss to Manly with victories over Canberra (54-6) and Cronulla (40-0) to give them a hold on seventh place on the ladder going into this round.

The Knights will be formidable opposition sitting two points clear at the top of the table having lost just four games this year, one of them against the Vodafone Junior Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium on June 1 when the home side won 34-22.

That match was Lino’s milestone 50th NYC appearance, an occasion he marked with a superb display scoring a try and kicking five conversions for 14 points while also coming up with two line breaks, two line break assists, a try assist, two off loads, four tackle breaks, 93 metres from eight runs and 18 tackles.

The Vodafone Junior Warriors will be hoping for another influential performance from him against a Newcastle side which also has three wins and a loss from its last four starts.

The Vodafone Warriors make the Newcastle trip on the back of dominant displays against two lowly-ranked opponents, compiling an overall score-line of 98-6. It has boosted their points for total to 635 – the fourth best in the competition – while they have conceded only 454 points, also the fourth best among all teams.

In their last four matches of the regular season the Vodafone Junior Warriors meet Newcastle away, the Sydney Roosters (fourth) and Gold Coast (14th) at home before finishing against Penrith (eighth) away.

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

11.45am, Sunday, August 17

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS

1 BRAD ABBEY

2 PAUL ULBERG

3 NATHANIEL ROACHE

4 MARATA NIUKORE

5 METIA LISATI

6 MAFOA’AEATA HINGANO

7 MASON LINO (C)

8 KOUMA SAMSON

9 KURT ROBINSON

10 SAM LISONE (c)

11 TOAFOFOA SIPLEY

12 MICHAEL KI

13 JAMES BELL

Interchange:

14 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD

15 JAZZ TEVAGA

16 SEMISI TYRELL

17 IULIO AFOA

18 MATIU LOVE-HENRY

COACH: STACEY JONES