Wellington's Paul Ulberg bagging one of the two tries he scored on debut for the Vodafone Junior Warriors. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

NYC GRAND FINAL | Ulberg starts

Paul Ulberg will start on the right wing for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in today’s NYC grand final against the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium (1.50pm kick-off local time, 3.50pm NZT).

The experienced Metia Lisati was originally named in the hope he would recover from the hamstring strain which forced him out of last weekend’s preliminary final against Parramatta.

A survivor of last year’s grand final loss to Penrith, Lisati was hoping for a fitting farewell to NYC football but was ruled out on Thursday. He still travelled with the team yesterday but, as he did last week, the 18-year-old Ulberg takes Lisati's place again today.

Ulberg's passage to the match is far less dramatic than it was last week, though. He flew to Sydney on the day of the Parramatta clash last Saturday, turning in an impressive all-round display despite the late call.

An NYC rookie, the Lower Hutt-raised Ulberg will be making his 14th appearance of the season today playing outside the explosive Solomone Kata.

Ulberg’s inclusion is the only change from the side named on Tuesday. Fullback Brad Abbey is confirmed to start after missing the Parramatta encounter with a hip injury.

With Lisati out there are now seven players in the line-up who experienced last year’s grand final defeat – Kata, Ngataua Hukatai, Tuimoala Lolohea, Mason Lino, Sam Lisone, Kouma Samson and Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard. A total of 10 players will be making their final NYC appearances.

This match is the 20th play-off the Vodafone Junior Warriors have been involved in since the NYC started. The only club to make the finals in each of the competition’s seven seasons, the record shows 14 wins so far including two grand final victories. This is their fourth grand final appearance in five years.

During the regular season the Broncos beat the Vodafone Junior Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium but the result was reversed when the two teams met a few weeks later at Suncorp Stadium.

Co-captain Lisone plays his 50th NYC match today while his fellow captain Lino is just seven points away from bringing up 500 career points in his 62nd and last NYC appearance.

Live coverage starts on SKY Sport 2 at 3.30pm.

 

(2) BRISBANE BRONCOS v (8) VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

1.50Pm, Sunday, October 5

Referees: Chris Butler and Chris Sutton

         

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS

1        BRAD ABBEY

2        NGATAUA HUKATAI

3        NATHANIEL ROACHE

4        SOLOMONE KATA

23       PAUL ULBERG

6        TUIMOALA LOLOHEA

7        MASON LINO (c)

8        SAM LISONE (c)

9        KURT ROBINSON

10       KOUMA SAMSON

11       MICHAEL KI

12       ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD

13       JAZZ TEVAGA

Interchange:

14       JAMES BELL

15       TOAFOFOA SIPLEY

16       KEN MAUMALO

17       IULIO AFOA

COACH: STACEY JONES

 

COVERAGE:

Live coverage starts on SKY Sport 2 at 3.30pm.