Vatuvei, Packer named to face Rabbitohs

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 01:00 03/07/2013
Manu Vatuvei
Photosport
GOOD AND BAD: Manu Vatuvei points skyward after scoring a try for the Warriors but he later left the field with a worrying injury.

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Giant winger Manu Vatuvei looks set to join on the Warriors on the biggest road trip in rugby league, despite limping off the field against the Broncos.

Vatuvei left Mt Smart Stadium in the 52nd minute of the Warriors 18-16 victory over the Broncos on Sunday with a leg injury.

Initial fears were that the Kiwi international, who is in sensational form for the Warriors with eight tries in his last six games, would be ruled out of his side's trip to Perth this Sunday, where they will play the Rabbitohs at nib Stadium.

Yet Vatuvei has been named in the Warriors side to met with the Rabbitohs, as has prop Russell Packer, who was ruled out of the Broncos clash late with an ankle niggle.

Warriors coach Matthew Elliott said he included both players in anticipation they will be able to travel with the team on Friday.

"Hopefully they'll be fine to play this weekend," he said."Manu has a contusion on his right shin which is responding to treatment while Russell is also a chance to return."

To cover options, Elliott has named a seven-man bench including cover for Vatuvei in seven-game rookie Ngani Laumape, while including Vulcans regulars Suaia Matagi and Charlie Gubb as front row cover for Packer.

Elliott said playing the red-hot Rabbitohs, who have won their last four matches, will be a good test for his side, who have an NRL-leading five game winning streak.

"We've had a series of really tough contests lately, especially the ones against Manly, the Roosters and Brisbane," he said.

"We've had our character tested each time but now we go to another level again. This is unquestionably our ultimate test given the way the Rabbitohs have been performing."

Sunday's clash will be the Warriors fourth first-grade visit to Perth. They lost NRL clashes there against the Sharks and Sea Eagles, in 2005 and 2012, and were defeated by the Western Reds there in the 1997 Super League. 

WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (capt), Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Russell Packer, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lowrie, Dominque Peyroux, Ngani Laumape, Suaia Matagi, Charlie Gubb.

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