Konrad Hurrell and Dominique Peyroux have been recalled for the Vodafone Warriors’ ninth-round NRL encounter with the Cronulla Sharks at Remondis Stadium on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off local time; 7.30pm NZT).
After missing the club’s 28-32 Anzac Day loss to Gold Coast, Hurrell and Peyroux were among six Vodafone Warriors players involved in last Saturday’s Pacific Test between Mate Ma’a Tonga and Toa Samoa in Robina.
Peyroux, used off the interchange bench, scored the Samoans’ final try in their 18-16 win on a night when he made 99 metres from seven runs as well as 23 tackles. Hurrell also made a big impact for the Tongans with 119 metres from 11 carries.
Hurrell’s Tongan team-mates Tuimoala Lolohea and Solomone Kata will again start against the Sharks while Tongan front rower Albert Vete has been named on a five-man bench along with Peyroux’s Samoan team-mate Sam Lisone.
The Pacific Test sextet feature in a Vodafone Warriors line-up including five members of the Kiwis’ triumphant Anzac Test side, captain Simon Mannering, wing Manu Vatuvei, halfback Shaun Johnson, prop Ben Matulino and hooker Thomas Leuluai all contributing to the first Anzac Test win since 1998 (the first in Australia and only the second in history).
The 29-year-old Vatuvei, enjoying one of best seasons of his career, was awarded the Charles Savory Medal for his two-try man of the match performance at Suncorp Stadium. He has now scored a total of eight tries in nine matches so far this season including his six in eight NRL games.
Vodafone Warriors assistant coach and Kiwi selector Tony Iro was elated with the efforts from the club’s players involved in the weekend’s internationals.
“To have 11 players involved in those two Tests was something really special for the club and I thought they were all terrific,” he said.
“Our five Kiwi boys were great in an outstanding win and the six players involved in the match between Samoa and Tonga also impressed especially Dom, Sol and Albie. Dom basically won the game for Samoa and has given us a lot of energy and aggression the times he has played for us previously this season.
“Koni was also really solid and he comes back into the side with more game time behind him. It’s fair to say we probably rushed him back a bit too quickly initially but he has now had a game for our New South Wales Cup side and for Tonga.”
Hurrell is reunited in the centres with rookie Kata, coming in for David Fusitu’a. Fusitu’a is set to start in the centres in the NSW Cup this weekend.
For the eighth consecutive match the Vodafone Warriors will use the same starting pack on Saturday in what will be the club’s 499th name since entering the competition in 1995. Kiwi heroes Mannering, Matulino and Leuluai team up with the seasoned Ryan Hoffman, Jacob Lillyman and Bodene Thompson, the latter moving within six games of his 100th appearance.
Facing his old club Cronulla, Jonathan Wright plays his 99th NRL game leaving him in line to reach his 100th a week later in the Vodafone Warriors’ 500th game when they face Parramatta at Pirtek Stadium.
The Vodafone Warriors (13th) and Cronulla (14th) have identical records after eight rounds – three wins and five losses – but the Sharks have better recent form with their three wins all coming in the last four rounds. The ladder is congested with just two points covering 11 teams from fifth through to 15th.
CRONULLA SHARKS v VODAFONE WARRIORS
Remondis Stadium, Cronulla
5.30pm, Saturday, May 9
1 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
2 JONATHAN WRIGHT
3 KONRAD HURRELL
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 CHAD TOWNSEND
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JACOB LILLYMAN
9 THOMAS LEULUAI
10 BEN MATULINO
11 BODENE THOMPSON
12 RYAN HOFFMAN
13 SIMON MANNERING (c)
14 NATHAN FRIEND
15 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
16 SAM LISONE
17 SAM RAPIRA
18 ALBERT VETE
HEAD COACH: ANDREW McFADDEN