Jerome Mamea on the attack. NRL Holden Cup, Juniors U20's. Warriors v Knights. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Monday 28 March 2016. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz

Five players will make their NYC debuts when the Vodafone Junior Warriors open their 2017 season against Newcastle at Mount Smart Stadium today (11.45am kick-off).

A sixth player – West Coaster Jordan Pinnock – will be having his first outing for the club, ironically against his old Knights team-mates after appearing 11 times for Newcastle last season.

The five newcomers are wing Edward Vaeau-Mulitalo, second rower Shane Hannam, loose forward Soane Hufanga and interchange forwards Tayhler Paora and Havi Tupouniua.

University student Vaeau-Mulitalo has been signed from a rugby union background with the King’s College First XV while Masterton-born Hannam has played for the Glenora Bears, New Lynn Stags and Bay Roskill Vikings.

Hufanga, another St Paul’s College product, has also been with the Knights previously while his Auckland junior clubs have been the Richmond Rovers, Mount Wellington Warriors and Ponsonby Ponies. Paora is a Manurewa Marlins junior while Tupouniua, a St Peter's College product, has links with the Marist Saints and the Bay Roskill Vikings.

Also on debut will be new Vodafone Junior Warriors coach Grant Pocklington. He’s able to call on 2016 regulars in co-captains Kenese Kenese and Chris Sio as well as Kane Telea, Lewis Soosemea, Melino Fineanganofo, Mat Faitotoa, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Joe Vuna and Jerome Mamea.

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

11.45am, Sunday, March 5

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1        KANE TELEA

2        LEWIS SOOSEMEA

3        MELINO FINEANGANOFO

4        MAT FAITOTOA

5        EDWARD VAEAU-MULITALO

6        CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

7        EIDEN ACKLAND

8        KENESE KENESE (co-captain)

9        CHRIS SIO (co-captain)

10       JORDAN PINNOCK

11       JOE VUNA

12       SHANE HANNAM

13       SOANE HUFANGA

14       DYLAN TAVITA

15       TAYHLER POARA

16       JEROME MAMEA

23       HAVI TUPOUNIUA