Moon's chance to showcase skills with Warriors

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 13/07/2011
Joel Moon
Getty Images
CENTRES: Joel Moon has been recalled to the centres for the Warriors, replacing an injured Lewis Brown.

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When Warriors centre Lewis Brown limped off the pitch in the opening minutes of last week's win over the Titans, coach Ivan Cleary admits he was already pencilling in the out-of-favour Joel Moon as his replacement for the following game.

The Australian utility, whose last game for the Warriors was against the Dragons in round three, is the only change to a Warriors team looking to consolidate their top eight position against the Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium this Friday.

"As soon as [Brown] got injured I knew what I was going to do," Cleary said.

"It was actually pretty easy."

Moon has been plying his trade for the Auckland Vulcans since the early season encounter against the Dragons, impressing with seven tries in outings at centre and lock forward.

"He [Moon] is the best man for the job," Cleary said. "He was there earlier in the season and he's done the job before. I'm sure he can do it this week.

"He'll be marking Jamal Idris ... I think Moony can handle it. One of his strengths is front-on defence so it will be a good test for him."

Moon, who is off contract with the Warriors at the end of the season, said he was looking forward to "showcasing" his skills to other NRL teams with a run in the first team.

"It's good to be in the team for that, better than being in the team at the Vulcans," he said.

"To get a spot on the team is exciting, especially with the run-in to the top eight and the semis, so I'm really looking forward to it." When asked about which teams were circling, the 23-year-old remained tight-lipped.

"It's at the start of everything so we'll see what happens," he said.

"I'm just trying to concentrate on my footy and trying to get a good one and try and get back in the team."

The announcement of Moon at centre consigns Krisnan Inu to another week in the stands, with Cleary reticent on what the former Parramatta star needs to do to force his way back into the team.

"He knows. He has a few things to work on," he said.

Hooker Aaron Heremaia will play his 50th NRL match on Friday, while Sam Rapira and Micheal Luck, who both made comebacks from injury last week, are also included in the squad.

WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Joel Moon, Shaun Berrigan, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Aaron Heremaia, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (captain), Micheal Luck. Interchange (from): Lance Hohaia, Sam Rapira, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Steve Rapira.

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