General Warriors Lose Lauaki Ahead Of Manly



Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary has had a good news-bad news week.

The good came on Sunday as Steve Price and his players came away from Newcastle's EnergyAustralia Stadium with a second successive NRL win there against the Knights.

It was also the Warriors' second win on end this year and only the third time they've secured back-to-back wins since the end of the 2003.

It meant Cleary's job of picking a side for Sunday's Ericsson Stadium encounter with the Manly Sea Eagles was straightforward as he retained the same 17 used in Newcastle.

But the bad news came on Tuesday in the shape of a long-term injury setback for interchange forward Epalahame Lauaki. The 22-year-old, who came off the bench in the first three matches, damaged his shoulder in the win against Wests Tigers forcing him out of the trip to Newcastle.

Cleary said Lauaki would now need surgery after tearing pectoral muscles in his right shoulder. He's due to be operated on this Friday and is expected to be sidelined for four months.

"It's really unfortunate for this to happen to Hame," said Cleary.

"He put in plenty of work in the off-season and in our pre-season trials and was showing real improvement."

Offsetting Lauaki's late defection for the Newcastle match was Sione Faumuina's return from a two-match suspension. He started on the bench against the Knights and has been confirmed there in the squad to face Manly.

The match will be the Warriors' first at home since the opening round of the season when they were edged 22-16 by the Melbourne Storm.

"It's great to be home after three successive away games but this one against Manly is going to be a huge challenge for us," said Cleary.

"While we've had two wins in a row, so have they beating Cronulla and the Roosters. They've also bought a lot of quality players in the last couple of years like Ben Kennedy, Brent Kite, Matt Orford and Steven Bell. We'll need to show further improvement to be in the contest."

The Warriors produced a club milestone when Evarn Tuimavave scored their first try in Newcastle. It was the 1000th since entering the competition in 1995. Interchange hooker Grant Rovelli also scored his first try in NRL football.

While Rovelli's was a breakthrough try, winger Manu Vatuvei maintained one of the hottest scoring sequences in the NRL. His try meant he has scored in every match this season and now has 13 tries in his last 15 first-grade appearances.

At the same time Tony Martin kicked five goals from five attempts taking him past 150 career points. He has so far kicked 13 of 16 attempts, a success rate of 81.25 percent.

On Sunday vice-captain Ruben Wiki will move within one match of becoming just the 49th player to make 250 first-grade appearances since the competition started in 1908.

Englishman Russell Smith has again been appointed to referee a Warriors match after also controlling the game in Newcastle last Sunday.


Lauaki was a disappointing loss, after he started to show some good form in the Warriors last two games.


It's a shame for the young fulla. With Sione coming back into the line-up and the other back-rowers in good form it could be a little while before he can fight his way back into the 17.

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