Warriors hoping for repeat Jones magic - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors hoping for repeat Jones magic

By Tamara McLean 19/03/2009 01:07:49 PM Comments (0)

Kiwi legend Stacey Jones will be playing in a repeat of his last NRL match when he makes his eagerly awaited return at Brookvale Oval against Manly on Sunday.

His teammates hope he'll repeat the same magic, too.

"We won that night and he scored a try, which would be nice," said Warriors skipper Steve Price, recalling the Little General's farewell match in August 2005.

"Hopefully we'll have the same result."

Back on a one-year contract, 32-year-old Jones missed the round one win over Parramatta with a calf strain but is on the bench this Sunday replacing badly injured utility Lance Hohaia.

Despite his vast experience, Jones admitted to feeling nerves but took some comfort from his trial match performances.

"I was quite happy to get through those games knowing I can still play at that level but this a little bit different - it's a full on competition game," Jones said.

"I'm just looking forward now to getting game time."

It'll be only the second time Jones has started on the bench in his career, but he reckoned it would work in his favour.

"It makes it a bit easier for me being out of the game for so long," Jones said.

The longtime club stalwart was impressed with the way coach Ivan Cleary's Warriors started the season as they "gutsed it out" to beat the Eels 26-18 and he praised the performances of the halves duo, Nathan Fien and new recruit Joel Moon.

"They were very good," Jones said.

"They got the team around the field well. Joel Moon is fitting in quite nice and Nathan Fien played his normal solid game."

Despite their good start, the Warriors acknowledge they face a big challenge against Manly on their home turf as the premiers aim to rebound from a shock first round loss to the Bulldogs.

"Manly are going to be very tough," said coach Cleary.

"We haven't beaten them in a long time and we've had our problems against them."

He admitted he was "a little bit surprised" at Manly's 34-12 defeat by 2008 wooden spooners the Bulldogs which came in the wake of the NRL's suspension of star fullback Brett Stewart.

Manly's round two lineup remains unchanged, while the Warriors have several changes.

Jacob Lillyman replaces Ben Matulino, who suffered an ankle injury, in the second row, Sam Rapira will run on while Russell Packer will come from the bench.

Former Newcastle prop Jesse Royal, 28, a late acquisition for the 2009 season, also joins the line-up.

Forward Micheal Luck, who took a massive hit from Eels forward Fuifui Moimoi, has been named to play but further tests are needed before this is confirmed.

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