Erin Clark during the Junior Warriors v Junior Knights match. NYC Holden Cup U20s Rugby League. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. New Zealand. Anzac Day, Sunday 31 May 2015. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.co.nz

NYC ROUND #16 | v Canberra

Vodafone Junior Warriors coach Kelvin Wright has named a much-changed combination for Saturday’s 16th-round NYC clash against Canberra at Mount Smart Stadium (12.40pm kick-off; match day sponsor: flava).

He has already been operating without the squad’s most experienced NYC player Toafofoa Sipley, out for the season with a knee injury which has ended his time in the grade with 43 appearances.

This week Wright will also be missing 30-game standoff Ata Hingano and hooker Nathaniel Roache (37 games) who have been called into the club’s New South Wales side, Hingano for his debut in the grade and Roache his second appearance.

It doesn’t end there with four other frontline players – Matiu Love-Henry, Semisi Tyrell, Jazz Tevaga and Ofahiki Ogden – ruled out as well.

The upshot is the Vodafone Junior Warriors, running fourth on the table, will have an untried look about them when they take on the eighth-placed Raiders. They come off two wins and two losses in their last four games – beating the Titans 28-20 last week – while Canberra has lost its last two games.

With Hingano missing, fullback Brad Abbey has been named at standoff with prolific try-scoring left wing Tomasi Aoake switched to fullback. Tyrell is replaced in the centres by Levi McBirney, an NYC rookie who played twice earlier the season, and Lewis Soosemea, another rookie, is on the left wing for his sixth game.

Chris Sio comes off the bench to start at hooker for Roache, Amoni Tufui is named to replace Love-Henry in the second row, Joseph Price comes in for Tevaga at loose forward and there’s a totally new look to the bench with only Tualima Tualima remaining for the interchange used in the Gold Coast win. Joining him are Mikaere Beattie, Koli Oneone and Mattais Heimuli.

Of the players left this weekend only four – wing Paul Ulberg, Abbey, prop Bunty Afoa and second rower Marata Niukore – have made 20 or more NYC appearances. Of the other 13 in  the squad, nine have played fewer than 10 games.

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v CANBERRA RAIDERS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

12.40pm, Saturday, June 27

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS

1 TOMAS AOAKE

2 LEWIS SOOSEMEA

3 JUNIOR PAUGA

4 LEVI McBIRNEY

5 PAUL ULBERG

6 BRAD ABBEY

7 ERIN CLARK

8 BUNTY AFOA

9 CHRIS SIO

10 PAUL TULI

11 AMONI TUFUI

12 MARATA NIUKORE

13 JOSEPH PRICE

Interchange:

14 MIKAERE BEATTIE

15 TUALIMA TUALIMA

16 KOLI ONEONE

17 MATTAIS HEIMULI

COACH: KELVIN WRIGHT