Warriors team named for second trial game
The Warriors will field most of their experienced players in the club's second 2013 NRL trial against Penrith at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.
New signings Thomas Leuluai and Dane Nielsen both feature, Leuluai named in the halves after last playing for the club in 2004 and Queensland Origin representative Nielsen making his first appearance for the Warriors.
NRL premiership winner Nielsen, who turned out for the Indigenous All Stars last Saturday night, teams up in the centres with Konrad Hurrell.
Head coach Matthew Elliott has given Elijah Taylor the chance to claim the starting hooker's job in the absence of regular No 9 Nathan Friend, who will miss the start of the season after having further shoulder surgery this Thursday.
Also lining up will be 2013 NRL All Stars Shaun Johnson at halfback and Feleti Mateo at loose forward. Elliott has selected Hamilton-raised Sam Rapira and 2012 Lion Red Player of the Year Ben Matulino as his starting props.
With Steve Rapira named on the bench, the Rapira brothers are set to team up for the Warriors in their hometown for the first time.
"We always planned to run with our younger players against the Titans," said Elliott.
"It was a really productive trial for us, giving us a good chance to have a look at our depth.
"As our only trial close to home, this match in Hamilton is a step up. We're able to call on most of our senior players and we're all looking forward to playing at Waikato Stadium in front of our members and fans. It's great taking games to places around the country like Hamilton and we hope a huge crowd turns out for it."
Apart from Friend, other seasoned players not considered were Jerome Ropati, who's working his way back from knee surgery, Russell Packer (bicep) and the club's other 2012 NRL grand final winner Todd Lowrie, who has returned home following the death of his grandfather.
Some of the Warriors' wider NRL squad will be playing for the Auckland Vulcans in a trial against a Pacific Island Selection at Cornwall Park on Saturday morning.
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor, Ben Matulino, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering (C), Feleti Mateo.
Interchange: Dominique Peyroux, Jacob Lillyman, Pita Godinet, Alehana Mara, Ngani Laumape, Carlos Tuimavave, Sam Lousi, Sebastine Ikahihifo, John Palavi, Glen Fisiiahi, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Steve Rapira, Charlie Gubb.