Tuesday 16 July 2013 1:25 PM
Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott is keeping his line-up options open for Friday night’s 19th-round NRL clash against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney (7.35pm kick-off local time; 9.35pm NZT).
While winger Manu Vatuvei has been named to make his return from a shin injury, Elliott has listed a seven-man interchange bench including three props Charlie Gubb, Russell Packer and Suaia Matagi.
Also included is winger Ngani Laumape, who made his eighth NRL appearance as Vatuvei’s replacement in the club’s last outing, the 13-30 loss to South Sydney in Perth on July 7.
Elliott said there was still a question over Packer and also in the same category is Gubb (groin), who became the club’s newest NRL player in Perth.
“Those two have to be completely cleared first so there’s some doubt there,” he said.
“We’re not yet in a position where we can confirm what our line-up will be against the Tigers.
“Whatever it is, this is a massive game for us. We’re coming off a bye and so are the Tigers. The last time we played after a week off against the Broncos we were a bit off our game in terms of our attack. The effort was great but we’ll need to improve in all areas at a place where it’s difficult to win.”
In four clashes against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, the Vodafone Warriors’ one success was in 2008 when they triumphed 28-26 the day Ruben Wiki made his 300th NRL appearance. They lost 22-24 last year.
The Vodafone Warriors fly to Sydney tomorrow and will be joined the following day by Queensland’s 18th man Jacob Lillyman after the final State of Origin match at AMZ Stadium tomorrow night.
Going into Friday night’s match, halfback Shaun Johnson has kicked his last 17 goals on end and needs only three points to bring up 100 for the season.
Second rower Feleti Mateo will make his 69th consecutive appearance since joining the club in 2011 while Johnson, Thomas Leuluai and Ben Matulino will join Mateo in maintaining a record of playing in every game so far this season.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS
Leichhardt Stadium, Sydney
7.35pm, Friday, July 19
1 KEVIN LOCKE
2 GLEN FISIIAHI
3 DANE NIELSEN
4 KONRAD HURRELL
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 THOMAS LEULUAI
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 SAM RAPIRA
9 NATHAN FRIEND
10 BEN MATULINO
11 FELETI MATEO
12 SIMON MANNERING (c)
13 ELIJAH TAYLOR
14 CHARLIE GUBB
15 JACOB LILLYMAN
16 TODD LOWRIE
17 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
18 NGANI LAUMAPE
20 RUSSELL PACKER
21 SUAIA MATAGI
HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT