NZ Warriors name unchanged line-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ Warriors name unchanged line-up

09/09/2008 03:45:45 PM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Warriors have named an unchanged line-up for their NRL finals match against minor premiers Melbourne on Sunday.

The clash at Olympic Park in Melbourne will give four Warriors, including winger Manu Vatuvei, their first taste of finals football.

Vatuvei, who missed last year's post-season campaign through injury, grabbed a hat-trick as the Warriors clinched the last playoff berth with 28-6 win away to Parramatta last weekend.

He has now scored five tries in his past two matches, and 14 in 14 appearances of an injury-hit season.

The other Warriors who will experience the NRL finals for the first time are winger Aidan Kirk, hooker Ian Henderson and second rower Ben Matulino.

The Warriors need to beat defending champions Melbourne to stay alive and coach Ivan Cleary said they faced a huge task against a team who have taken the minor premiership for three successive years.

"Everyone is tipping them to win as you'd expect," he said.

"The Storm have proved over three years what a terrific side they are with so many players of the highest quality in their line-up."

Cleary said the effort the Warriors produced against the Eels was a good one, but they would need to improve again to compete with the Storm.

For halfback Nathan Fien, second rower Simon Mannering and prop Sam Rapira, the match will continue a long unbroken run of appearances.

The three haven't missed an NRL fixture since 2006, appearing in all 26 games last year and the 24 so far this season.

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