Debutants Junior Pauga and Lewis Soosemea are among seven NYC-eligible players included in a 19-man Vodafone Warriors squad for Saturday’s 18th-round Intrust Super Premiership encounter with competition leader Illawarra on Mount Smart Stadium #2 (1.00pm kick-off).
Centre Pauga and wing Soosemea have been in impressive form in the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ run of three straight NYC victories.
After making 217 metres against the Sydney Roosters and 215 against Cronulla, Pauga broke new ground with a whopping 312 metres from 23 runs in Saturday’s hard-fought 14-12 win over Gold Coast.
Soosemea also topped 200 metres against the Sharks and has scored nine tries so far this season. Pauga and Soosemea have appeared in all 16 NYC games to date.
With the club’s NRL and NYC sides having byes this weekend, Pauga and Soosemea have been promoted to play their first ISP matches this weekend.
Also in the side are NYC-eligible Ata Hingano, Nathaniel Roache and Bunty Afoa while Ofahiki Ogden and Erin Clark are included on a six-man bench.
Hingano, an ISP regular this season, was 18th man for the NRL side last weekend. He hasn’t been used at NYC level this year.
Roache and Afoa were both used in the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL line-up in last week’s 27-18 win over the Titans, Afoa impressing on debut as Vodafone Warrior #213 when he packed 24 tackles without a miss, 50 metres from six runs and no errors into his 35 minutes on the field. Ogden was in the second row for the ISP side against Wests Tigers while Clark returned to the team to replace Hingano in the halves, scoring a second half try.
Pauga comes into the centres for veteran Jonathan Wright, who is suspended after being charged with a lifting tackle in last Saturday’s 16-18 loss to Wests Tigers.
After seven straight wins, the Vodafone Warriors have lost two of their last three games against Newtown and the Tigers to slip to third on the ladder, two points behind the Cutters and the Mounties.
Entry is free to Saturday’s match. Car parking is available by using the O’Rorke Road entrance.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v ILLAWARRA CUTTERS
Mount Smart Stadium #2, Auckland
1.00pm, Saturday, July 9
1 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD
2 VILIAMI KAVEINGA
3 JUNIOR PAUGA
4 MATT ALLWOOD
5 LEWIS SOOSEMEA
6 ATA HINGANO
7 MASON LINO
8 JAMES GAVET
9 NATHANIEL ROACHE
10 JOHN PALAVI (c)
11 BUNTY AFOA
12 SHAUN LANE
13 JAZZ TEVAGA
14 JAMES BELL
15 UPU POCHING
16 ALI LAUITIITI
20 OFAHIKI OGDEN
21 ERIN CLARK
22 PATRICK SIPLEY
COACH | STACEY JONES