Fien to five-eighth for Knights clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fien to five-eighth for Knights clash

27/05/2008 05:12:50 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has rejigged his halves combination for Saturday's round 12 match in Newcastle after a disappointing NRL home defeat in their last match.

The Roosters ruthlessly ended the Warriors' unbeaten home record this season with a 38-12 victory last Sunday - a defeat that has prompted the Australian coach to alter the axis of his attack.

Utility Nathan Fien, who started at hooker against the Roosters, replaces Jerome Ropati at five-eighth, with the Kiwi international slotting into the centre alongside Brent Tate.

First choice five-eighth and goalkicker Michael Witt's continued absence with a hip flexor injury has denied Cleary a key option.

"We still see Jerome as an option at No.6 but he has missed a lot of football through injury recently and is working back to full match fitness," Cleary said.

The other backline changes see Simon Mannering revert to the second row for Ropati while Michael Crockett replaces Patrick Ah Van.

English Super League recruit Ian Henderson will start dummy half, while Sonny Fai replaces Epalahame Lauaki in the pack.

The Knights, ninth on the table, are coming off the bye. The two teams met in Auckland during round four in April where the Warriors ran out 26-20 winners.

New Zealand Warriors: Lance Hohaia, Michael Crockett, Brent Tate, Jerome Ropati, Aidan Kirk, Nathan Fien, Grant Rovelli, Sam Rapira, Ian Henderson, Steve Price (captain), Simon Mannering, Sonny Fai, Micheal Luck. Interchange: Evarn Tuimavave, Epalahame Lauaki, Logan Swann, Russell Packer, Ben Matulino (18th man).

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