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Same team for first Anzac Day clash

Auckland, New Zealand, April 21, 2009 – For the first time this season the Vodafone Warriors are set to have an unchanged line-up when they face 2008 beaten grand finalist Melbourne in Saturday’s seventh-round NRL clash at Olympic Stadium.

Coach Ivan Cleary today named the same combination that startedOn this last Sunday’s golden point 17-16 win over the Sydney Roosters at Mount Smart Stadium.

With frontline fullback Wade McKinnon still sidelined with a hamstring injury, Lance Hohaia (26) has been listed at fullback after being brought in as a late replacement against the Roosters following a four-match absence with a knee injury.

Hohaia’s fellow World Cup-winning Kiwi team-mate Simon Mannering has been named in the centres. He started there last Sunday before moving into the second row during the first half. Ben Matulino (20) will run on in the second row while Cleary has retained the same bench used against the Roosters of Nathan Fien, Russell Packer, Jesse Royal and Patrick Ah Van.

“We want Wade to be completely right rather than risking him having a serious hamstring injury,” said Cleary.

“He’s making good progress but we’re not going to rush things. We’re also fortunate that we can call on a replacement as qualified as Lance.”

Hohaia was one of the Vodafone Warriors’ busiest players against the Roosters, making a game-high 23 runs and also making the most metres (179).  

Coming into the team as 18th man for the first time is Christchurch’s Lewis Brown. Yet to make his first-grade debut, the hooker-back rower joined the Vodafone Warriors in the off-season after stints with the Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers. He was a New South Wales Cup regular for the Balmain Ryde Tigers and has been in impressive form for the Auckland Vulcans in that competition this season.

Until now Cleary has been forced to make at least one change a week to his ultimate starting line-ups and more often more than one. Already 23 players have been used in the first six rounds with Nathan Fien, Ian Henderson, Denan Kemp, Jacob Lillyman, Simon Mannering, Joel Moon, Russell Packer, Sam Rapira and Jerome Ropati appearing in every game.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v MELBOURNE STORM

Olympic Park, Melbourne
5.30pm, Saturday, April 25

VODAFONE WARRIORS


1 LANCE HOHAIA
2 DENAN KEMP
3 SIMON MANNERING
4 JEROME ROPATI
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 JOEL MOON
7 STACEY JONES
8 SAM RAPIRA
9 IAN HENDERSON
10 STEVE PRICE (c)
11 BEN MATULINO
12 JACOB LILLYMAN
13 MICHEAL LUCK (vc)
Interchange:
14 NATHAN FIEN
15 RUSSELL PACKER
16 JESSE ROYAL
17 PATRICK AH VAN

18TH MAN: LEWIS BROWN

COACH: IVAN CLEARY