Warriors coach turns to rookies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors coach turns to rookies

26/05/2009 07:14:31 PM Comments (0)

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has called Kevin Locke and Aaron Heremaia to make their NRL debuts in Sunday's round 12 clash against Wests Tigers.

Locke, 20, comes in on the wing for Denan Kemp after continuing to impress at fullback for the Warriors' Toyota Cup team.

And Heremaia, 26, has been promoted to start at hooker ahead of the experienced Ian Henderson.

Heremaia has recently been used as the Warriors' 18th man - he travelled to Canberra last weekend - and has also been in good form for the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup.

"It's a reward for both Kevin and Aaron," Cleary said.

"They've kept pushing for selection with their efforts, Kevin with our NYC side and Aaron with the Vulcans. They've worked for this chance and deserve to be given a crack at first-grade level.

"We place great importance on competition throughout the squad. If we have players who aren't quite reaching the standards we want, the chance is there for someone else to come in."

Locke was the Junior Warriors' 2009 player of the year while Heremaia, recently re-signed by the club until possibly 2012, has the ability to play at hooker and in the halves.

Apart from bringing the newcomers in, Cleary has been forced to make a change in the front row, with captain Steve Price named for Queensland for State of Origin one against New South Wales in Melbourne next Wednesday night.

Jesse Royal comes off the bench to replace him while utility Lewis Brown, used against St George Illawarra and North Queensland, is named on the bench with Lance Hohaia, Russell Packer and Ben Matulino.

With Henderson having a break this week, centre Jerome Ropati, five-eighth Joel Moon, prop Sam Rapira and backrowers Jacob Lillyman and Simon Mannering are the only players in line to maintain their sequence of appearing in every match this season.

They will make their 11th appearances of the year on Sunday.

Warriors: Wade McKinnon, Kevin Locke, Patrick Ah Van, Jerome Ropati, Manu Vatuvei, Joel Moon, Stacey Jones, Sam Rapira, Aaron Heremaia, Jesse Royal, Simon Mannering, Jacob Lillyman, Micheal Luck (capt). Interchange: Lance Hohaia, Russell Packer, Lewis Brown, Ben Matulino.

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