Warriors make two changes for Manly clash
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has tweaked his lineup, making two changes for Sunday's clash with NRL leaders Manly in Auckland.
There's no panic in the Warriors camp after their disappointing loss to the Broncos in Brisbane last weekend ended a three-match winning streak.
But McFadden hasn't hesitated to return powerful wing Ngani Laumape to the lineup now that he is freed from suspension after missing three games for a tip tackle.
And with veteran prop Sam Rapira back to fitness after missing the last two matches with a back problem, McFadden has named him on an extended bench.
Laumape comes in for 19-year-old David Fusitu'a while Rapira joins a five-man interchange with Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Thomas Leuluai and Jayson Bukuya, who was 18th man for last Saturday's 22-28 loss to the Broncos.
Manly went to the top of the table last night with a 21-12 win over the Dragons and certainly have McFadden's respect.
"They've been the form team in the competition and bring so much quality with them. It's a massive challenge for us and a great opportunity to see where we measure up," McFadden said as the Warriors look to hold their spot in an increasingly tight playoffs frame.
They were now seventh.
"There were aspects of our performance which were disappointing last weekend. In the first half much of the detail which has been good for us wasn't at the level we expect."
The Sea Eagles have been one of the Warriors' most difficult opponents with just eight wins in 25 encounters and only two victories in the last 12 games.
Last year at Mt Smart Stadium the Warriors won a thriller 18-16, ending a run of six straight losses to Manly.
Sam Tomkins, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Nielsen, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering, Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange (from): Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Thomaa Leuluai, Jayson Bukuya, Sam Rapira.