Sione Lousi is back after a one-match absence for today's New South Wales Cup clash. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

Sione Lousi comes back from a one-game injury absence to start at loose forward in the Vodafone Warriors’ sixth-round New South Wales Cup clash against Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium today (5.15pm kick-off; game day sponsor: SKYCITY).

Lousi’s sees Charlie Gubb going to the bench after originally being named at loose forward while front rower Upu Poching drops out.

David Fusitu’a (20), the club’s 2014 Vodafone NRL Rookie of the Year, starts in the centres in his comeback from offseason shoulder surgery. In 12 NRL appearances last year he scored seven tries and averaged 100 metres a game while he also turned out for both the NSW Cup (three tries in four games) and NYC sides (three tries in two games).

Ken Maumalo (20) is also back. A premiership winner with the Vodafone Junior Warriors last year, he was named to make his NRL debut in the opening round of the season last month after impressing in the club’s NRL trials and the NRL Nines. Cruelly he was ruled out after picking up a hamstring injury in the team’s final pre-match run and has been out of action since.

Sam Rapira was used off the bench last weekend but is named to start tomorrow. With 169 NRL appearances to his name, he’s one of nine players with first-grade experience in the line-up.

After starting the fifth round in second spot on the ladder, the Vodafone Warriors slipped to eighth after losing 6-42 to Wyong but are one of seven teams on six points filling second to eighth. There’s a four-point gap back to the ninth.

The Tigers are fourth after a 10-12 loss to Penrith last week.

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

5.15pm, Saturday, April 11

Referee: Shane Rehm

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 VILIAMI KAVEINGA

2 KEN MAUMALO

3 MATT ALLWOOD

4 DAVID FUSITU’A

5 JARROD TUA

6 API PEWHAIRANGI

7 SAM COOK

8 SUAIA MATAGI

9 SILIVA HAVILI

10 SAM RAPIRA

11 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER

12 JOHN PALAVI (c)

16 SIONE LOUSI

Interchange:

13 CHARLIE GUBB

14 DAVID BHANA

15 NATHANIEL PETERU

17 JAMES BELL

COACH: STACEY JONES