Six players from the 2014 premiership-winning Vodafone Junior Warriors side will line-up in Saturday’s 2015 NYC season-opener against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium (12.00pm kick-off local time; 2.00pm NZT).

Nathaniel Roache, who started in the centres in last year’s grand final, has been named at hooker and will also captain the side.

Joining him are fullback Brad Abbey, wing Paul Ulberg, props Bunty Afoa and Toafofoa Sipley and loose forward Jazz Tevaga.

Centre Marata Niukore, standoff Ata Hingano and second rower Ofahiki Ogden all featured prominently last season while others selected after being involved in the 2014 campaign are wing Tomas Aoake, centre Semisi Tyrell, second rower Matiu Love-Henry and prop Paul Tuli.

Only four players will make their NYC debuts – halfback Erin Clark plus interchange forwards Tualima Tualima, Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano and Tamati Ioane-Niko. Also on the five-man bench is hooker Sheldon Pitama, who played in Melbourne’s NYC side last year.

Making his debut as NYC coach is Kelvin Wright, who served as assistant coach to John Ackland and then Stacey Jones in last year’s successful campaign.

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 

Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

12.00pm, Saturday, March 07

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS

1 BRAD ABBEY

2 TOMAS AOAKE

3 MARATA NIUKORE

4 SEMISI TYRELL

5 PAUL ULBERG

6 ATA HINGANO

7 ERIN CLARK

8 BUNTY AFOA

9 NATHANIEL ROACHE (c)

10 TOAFOFOA SIPLEY

11 OFAHIKI OGDEN

12 MATIU LOVE-HENRY

13 JAZZ TEVAGA

Interchange:

14 PAUL TULI

15 TUALIMA TUALIMA

16 TAMATI IOANE-NIKO

17 ISAIAH COOPER-TETEVANO

18 SHELDON PITAMA

COACH: KELVIN WRIGHT