Wiki expects Souths' NZ boys to fire - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wiki expects Souths' NZ boys to fire

04/06/2008 03:19:03 PM Comments (0)

Ruben Wiki knows from his Canberra days that a homecoming can add an extra edge to an NRL encounter.

So he's expecting bottom-of-the-table South Sydney to come out "all guns blazing" against the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on Friday night.

The Rabbitohs have a substantial Kiwi contingent, including co-captains Roy Asotasi and David Kidwell.

Fellow Test forwards Issac Luke and David Fa'alogo will also make the trip across the Tasman, as will centre Fetuli Talanoa and winger John Tamanika.

"They'll be a dangerous side," Wiki said.

"They've got a lot of Kiwi boys coming home to family and they will want to impress. They haven't won a game in a while, so they'll want to get one over the Warriors."

Wiki recalled the warm on-field reception he got on returning to Auckland during his 12 seasons with the Raiders.

"There was always a bit of extra treatment," he said.

"It's going to be the same playing the Rabbitohs."

Souths would be a dangerous proposition on another score, the veteran prop said.

Although the Rabbitohs have managed just one win in their 11 matches, Wiki believes they are close to putting it all together and the Warriors may be made to pay for any complacency.

"They're just another NRL team fighting for two points, and we really have to focus on what we do and do it well," he said.

"Everyone is on notice about that."

Wiki said there was a sense of relief at the Warriors' 18-16 win over Newcastle last Saturday, a result which broke their drought in Australia this season.

It was a victory he missed, because he was back in Auckland playing for feeder club the Vulcans against Sydney's Western Suburbs in the NSW Cup.

His selection for the Vulcans was aimed at giving him plenty of game time after being sidelined with the recurrence of a rib injury, and he got 70 minutes under his belt.

His reinstatement to the Warriors this week edges him closer to a magic milestone.

When he runs out against Souths, it will be his 297th first-grade appearance since he made his debut with Canberra as a centre in 1993.

Three more and Wiki, 35, will become the first New Zealander, and the 10th player overall, to notch up 300 NRL matches.

"I never thought I would play one and now I'm close to 300. But it's one step at a time. I'm only part of the way. Hopefully I can get there," he said.

Meanwhile, Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei has been ruled out of Friday's match with a leg injury.

Vatuvei was named in the Warriors' starting 13 on Tuesday after spending the past six weeks on the sidelines with the injury but he failed a later fitness test.

A decision on a replacement had not yet been made.

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