The coronavirus pandemic has put the NRL’s ‘Team List Tuesday’ ritual on hold indefinitely in a week when the Vodafone Warriors would have been naming their team to face the Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium this Saturday.
With that in mind we've gone through our archives to 2009 when the Tigers were in the Vodafone Warriors’ sights as they named their squad for a 12th-round match between the two clubs in Auckland.
Auckland, New Zealand, May 26, 2009 – Vodafone Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has brought in Kevin Locke and Aaron Heremaia to make their NRL debuts in Sunday’s 12th-round clash against Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium.
Locke (20) comes in on the wing for Denan Kemp after continuing to impress at fullback for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in the NYC.
And Heremaia (26) has been promoted to start at hooker ahead of the experienced Ian Henderson. Heremaia has recently been used as the Vodafone Warriors’ 18th man – he travelled to Canberra last weekend – and has also been in good form for the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup.
“It’s a reward for both Kevin and Aaron,” said Cleary.
“They’ve kept pushing for selection with their efforts, Kevin with our NYC side and Aaron with the Vulcans. They’ve worked for this chance and deserve to be given a crack at first-grade level.
“We place great importance on competition throughout the squad. If we have players who aren’t quite reaching the standards we want, the chance is there for someone else to come in.”
Locke was the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 2009 player of the year while Heremaia, recently re-signed by the club until possibly 2012, has the ability to play at hooker and in the halves.
Apart from bringing the newcomers in, Cleary has been forced to make a change in the front row with captain Steve Price named for Queensland for State of Origin I against New South Wales in Melbourne next Wednesday night. Jesse Royal (29) comes off the bench to replace him while utility Lewis Brown (22), used against St George Illawarra and North Queensland, is named on the bench with Lance Hohaia, Russell Packer and Ben Matulino.
With Henderson having a break this week, centre Jerome Ropati, standoff Joel Moon, prop Sam Rapira and back rowers Jacob Lillyman and Simon Mannering are the only players in line to maintain their sequence of appearing in every match this season. They will make their 11th appearances of the year on Sunday.
Locke will become Vodafone Warrior No 152 and Heremaia No 153 when they take the field on Sunday. They will be the fifth and sixth NRL debutants for the Vodafone Warriors this year following prop Leeson Ah Mau, second rowers Ukuma Ta’ai and Daniel O’Regan plus utility Lewis Brown; Ah Mau, O’Regan and Locke are all graduates from the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ NYC side. Another four players – Kemp, Moon, Lillyman and Royal – have made their club debuts this year.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
4.00pm, Sunday, May 31, 2014
1 WADE McKINNON
2 KEVIN LOCKE
3 PATRICK AH VAN
4 JEROME ROPATI
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 JOEL MOON
7 STACEY JONES
8 SAM RAPIRA
9 AARON HEREMAIA
10 JESSE ROYAL
11 SIMON MANNERING
12 JACOB LILLYMAN
13 MICHEAL LUCK (c)
14 LANCE HOHAIA
15 RUSSELL PACKER
16 LEWIS BROWN
17 BEN MATULINO
COACH: IVAN CLEARY