General Warriors Vs Eels: News



Vodafone Warriors back rower Wairangi Koopu underlines his reliability when he makes his 50th straight NRL appearance in Saturday night's NRL encounter with Parramatta.

The 26-year-old has been ever-present for the club for exactly two years.
After being sidelined for a few weeks in 2004, he returned to play each of the side's last eight matches that season followed by all 24 last year when he established himself as one of the busiest forwards in the game.

This year he has maintained the run which will see him play his 18th straight match tomorrow night.


• There are no changes to the 17 players originally named.
• The team had its final training run this afternoon.
• The original team announced on Tuesday has Wairangi Koopu starting in the second row with Awen Guttenbeil while Louis Anderson is named at loose forward.
• George Gatis is on the interchange bench. He made his debut for the club against Wests Tigers on March 25 and went on to make 10 consecutive appearances. He returns to the side after Lance Hohaia was used as the interchange hooker in the last five matches. Since dropping out of the NRL side, Gatis has appeared for the Counties Manukau Jetz in the Bartercard Cup.
• The same backline is set to start for the sixth straight match on Saturday night. The seven players have been on the field every minute of the past five matches with the exception of Simon Mannering who was on the bench for three minutes during the South Sydney encounter at Telstra Stadium.


• Epalahame Lauaki (pectoral) and Todd Byrne (arm) remain on the injured list this week. They are both due to return in early August. Byrne has had the cast removed from his right arm.


• The Kiwi All Stars play an Invitational team in the curtain raiser to the NRL match on Saturday night, starting at 5.30pm.
• Former Kiwi captain Fred Ah Kuoi has been added to the team of former Kiwis coached by 1983-86 New Zealand coach.
• Ah Kuoi arrived back in Auckland this week to see family. He has been in Phoenix, Arizona, where he has been a minister for seven years.


• A full round of Bartercard Cup matches will be played this weekend.
• Six Vodafone Warriors first grade squad members are due to play for their teams.
• The Tamaki Leopards have named Cooper Vuna at fullback, Clinton Toopi in the centres and George Tuakura at prop for their match against the Central Falcons at Ellerslie Domain on Saturday. Included in the Central side are Russell and Paora Packer, who have been signed by the Vodafone Warriors for the 2007 season.
• Sonny Fai is named in the second row for the Counties Manukau Jetz for their match against the Northern Storm at Massey Park in Papakura on Sunday.
• Sam Rapira and Lance Hohaia are both expected to appear for the Waicoa Bay Stallions when they face the Canterbury Bulls in Maori TV’s live Monday night game from Rotorua International Stadium.


• In last Sunday’s match against the Bulldogs, the Vodafone Warriors achieved exceptional statistics for overall metres gained and the number of players who carried the ball more than 100 metres. The team made a total of 1817 metres (the Bulldogs made 1528 metres). Of the 17 players, 11 carried the ball more than 100 metres including six of the seven backs – Brent Webb (170), Ruben Wiki (152), Manu Vatuvei (142), Louis Anderson (140), Steve Price (134), Awen Guttenbeil (123), Patrick Ah Van (116), Simon Mannering (110), Tony Martin (106), Nathan Fien (103) and Jerome Ropati (102). The Bulldogs had seven players who made more than 100 metres.
• Interchange forward Wairangi Koopu makes his 50th consecutive NRL appearance on Saturday night. He started his run by playing the last eight matches in 2004, followed by all 24 in 2005 and this weekend’s game will be his 18th this season.
• Standoff Jerome Ropati and back rower Louis Anderson made their 50th first-grade appearances last Sunday.
• Fullback Brent Webb and loose forward Sione Faumuina are close to making their 100th first-grade appearances. Webb plays his 99th match on Saturday night and is on target to become the 11th player to appear in 100 first-grade matches for the club when the Vodafone Warriors play Penrith in round 21. Faumuina makes his 98th appearance on Saturday night, his 87th for the club (he played 11 times for Canberra).
• Faumuina needs four points to bring up 150 first-grade points.
• Tony Martin kicked three goals against the Bulldogs to become only the second player this season to reach 150 points in the NRL competition. He now has the third highest individual points total (150) in a season in the club’s history. Ahead of him is Ivan Cleary who scored 242 points in 2002 and 173 in 2001. Last weekend Martin passed Stacey Jones who notched 147 points in 2005.
• Simon Mannering has scored four tries in the Vodafone Warriors’ last three matches and a total of seven in his 10 appearances so far this season.
• The Vodafone Warriors’ regular front rowers have scored a total of 21 of the club’s 73 tries so far this season – prop Ruben Wiki has five while fellow props Steve Price and Evarn Tuimavave have four along with hooker Nathan Fien. Interchange hooker George Gatis has one and Lance Hohaia has three.
• The regular outside backs have 31 tries between them – Brent Webb (9), Simon Mannering (7), Manu Vatuvei (7), Tony Martin (6) and Patrick Ah Van (2).
• Seven players are set to extend their run of appearing in all of the club’s NRL matches this season. Saturday night’s match will be the 18h on end for Brent Webb, Tony Martin, Grant Rovelli, Nathan Fien, Wairangi Koopu, Evarn Tuimavave and Micheal Luck.


• Overall: Played 18, Won 6, Lost 12
• At Ericsson Stadium: Played 8, Won 5, Lost 3
• Biggest win: 40-4 at Parramatta Stadium, 1995
• Most recent win: 20-10, Mt Smart Stadium, 2004

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