Feleti Mateo training with the Vodafone Warriors' New South Wales Cup side in today's opposed session against the NRL squad. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

NSW CUP ROUND #25 | Mateo in

Feleti Mateo will provide another dose of NRL experience for the Vodafone Warriors’ New South Wales Cup side in Sunday’s final regular season clash against the North Sydney Bears at Mount Smart Stadium (11.40am kick-off; match day sponsor: Vodafone).

The 182-game veteran has been named at loose forward for what will be his third NSW Cup appearance this season.

The match kicks off a home season finale tripleheader followed by the Vodafone Junior Warriors taking on Gold Coast (1.45pm) and the NRL clash (4.00pm). It’s also the club’s traditional old boys’ day with more than 25 former players in line to be involved in the day’s festivities.

Mateo, who has played 18 NRL matches this year, makes a straight swap with fellow long-serving NRL forward Sam Rapira. Rapira had his first outing for the club’s NSW Cup side in last Saturday’s galling 28-30 loss to Newtown but he has been named on the NRL team’s bench for its clash against the Titans.

Also named is winger Jarred Wilson, set to return after spending most of the year on the sideline after starting the campaign with six tries in six games.

The Vodafone Warriors slipped to ninth on the ladder after last week’s loss but will have a clear idea before the encounter with the Bears whether they’ll still be able to secure a place in the finals.

As it stands now Cronulla and Wyong fill seventh and eighth on 28 points with the Vodafone Warriors and Newtown Jets ninth and 10th on 27 points (the Vodafone Warriors have a points for and against differential of plus three while the Jets’ is minus 49).

For their final game to be a live affair, the Vodafone Warriors need either Cronulla or Wyong (or both) to lose; both play on Saturday with the Sharks away to the sixth-placed Mounties and the Roos away to the fourth-placed Wests Tigers.

If one or both of them loses the Vodafone Warriors will have a sudden-death top eight decider on their hands against the bottom-placed Bears.

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v NORTH SYDNEY BEARS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

11.40am, Sunday, August 31

Referee: Jamal Thompson

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 STEVE WAETFORD (c)

2 JARRED WILSON

3 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE

4 MICHAEL SIO

5 JARROD TUA

6 CHAD TOWNSEND 

7 SAM COOK

8 SAM LOUSI

9 SILIVA HAVILI

10 UPU POCHING

11 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER

12 AGNATIUS PAASI

13 FELETI MATEO

Interchange:

14 ALBERT VETE

15 ABRAHAM PAPALII

16 DAVID BHANA

17 MICHAEL KI

COACH: ROHAN SMITH