General Junior Warriors


The Junior Warriors will have the luxury of fielding three NRL players for their Toyota Cup qualifying final against St George Illawarra on Sunday afternoon.
Played as a curtain raiser to the Warriors' do-or-die play-off against minor premier Melbourne at Olympic Park, the U20 side features Patrick Ah Van, Russell Packer and Sonny Fai who have made 32 NRL appearances between them in 2008.
Ah Van starts at centre, Packer at prop while Fai will come from the interchange bench after missing last week's 24-all draw against Parramatta with injury.
The Junior Warriors, who finished third in the regular season, have history on their side as they attempt to topple the Dragons on Australian soil.
Back in round 24, the Junior Warriors came home with a wet sail in the second half to dispose of the Dragons 32-8 and their line-up for Sunday is largely the same one that ran out that day.
If Tony Iro's side can come away with victory, they will have the possibility of a week off if either Canberra, the minor premier, or Penrith lose in their first-round matches against the Bulldogs and Titans respectively.
Two keys to the New Zealanders' success will be hard-working prop Packer and fullback Kevin Locke, who was named his side's Player of the Year on Wednesday.
Packer, a member of the Toyota Cup's Team of the Year, was in inspirational form last Saturday against the Eels, gaining 267 metres along with 40 tackles and no misses - a staggering work-rate, especially for an 18-year-old.
Locke is equally invaluable at the back with his running and support play along with his point-scoring feats.
The diminutive No.1 needs two points against the Dragons to reach 200 points for the season, which would make him the second to the mark after Bulldogs flyer Ben Barba.
Locke has kicked more goals than Barba - nailing 73 at 73 percent accuracy - but his 13 tries are well behind Barba's amazing haul of 30 tries from 19 appearances.
Junior Warriors:
1- Kevin Locke
2- Thomas Ah Van
3- Patrick Ah Van
4- Rusty Bristow
5- Bill Tupou
6- Daniel O'Regan (captain)
7- Isaac John
8- Russell Packer
9- Alehana Mara
10- Mataupu Poching
11- Eddy Purcell
12- Michael Afioga
13- Steve Rapira
Interchange: 14- Elijah Taylor, 15- Sonny Fai, 16- Scott Jones, 17- Arron Pawley.


Man I can't wait for this game, it's going to be a real cracker!

With Steve Rapira, Sonny Fai, Scott Jones and Aaron Pawley all in the side together for the first time, along with our seasons best performers (Locke, Taylor, Packer) This is the best squad I've seen named this year. I'm thinking about putting a lazy $50 on them to take the comp out.