The Vodafone Warriors will grab a share of the competition lead if they can maintain their strong record at home with victory over Illawarra in today’s 18th-round New South Wales Cup clash at Mount Smart Stadium (11.40am kick-off).

The home side can join Penrith at the top of the ladder on 26 points with their 10th win of the season but face a demanding assignment against the sixth-placed Illawarra Cutters; the Panthers lost 20-22 to Wyong yesterday.

Coach Stacey Jones has made some changes to his line-up from the side announced earlier in the week.

Big wing Ken Maumalo returns from his ankle injury in the only backline change while David Bhana is moved off the bench to start in the second row. With 37 appearances so far, Bhana has played the most games for the side since the Vodafone Warriors took over the running of the New South Wales Cup side last season.

There are also two changes on the bench with Mangere East’s Ray Talimalie set to make his NSW Cup debut while prop Daniel Palavi has also been added.

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v ILLAWARRA CUTTERS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

11.40am, Sunday, July 12

Referee: Aaron Donald

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 GLEN FISIIAHI

2 VILIAMI KAVEINGA

3 MATTHEW ALLWOOD

4 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX

21 KEN MAUMALO

6 ATA HINGANO

7 MASON LINO

8 SAM LISONE

9 NATHANIEL ROACHE

10 SAM RAPIRA

11 JOHN PALAVI (c)

14 DAVID BHANA

13 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO

Interchange:

15 UPU POCHING

16 JAMES BELL

18 RAY TALIMALIE

22 DANIEL PALAVI

COACH: STACEY JONES