Warriors drop McKinnon for being late - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors drop McKinnon for being late

04/08/2009 05:21:59 PM Comments (0)

Fullback Wade McKinnon has been dropped by the Warriors for breaking the NRL club's protocols.

McKinnon was late for a recovery session in Sydney on Sunday after the Warriors' 32-32 extra-time draw with Penrith the previous night.

Coach Ivan Cleary said on Tuesday it was disappointing McKinnon had to be stood down from the side to face Gold Coast in Auckland on Sunday.

"He has been playing strongly for us but we expect our players to abide by the team protocols we have in place," he said.

McKinnon's misdemeanour means a backline reshuffle with winger Kevin Locke going to his preferred position of fullback and Patrick Ah Van returning to the side on the wing.

In other changes, Elijah Taylor will make his NRL debut, replacing Kiwi Jerome Ropati in the centres.

At 19, Taylor, who can also operate at five-eighth and in the back row, will still be eligible next season for the Junior Warriors, the side he skippers.

He becomes the eighth Junior Warrior to be promoted to first grade since the National Youth Competition began last year.

He also becomes the eighth Warrior to make his NRL debut this season.

At five-eighth, Aaron Heremaia - who has been used mainly at hooker - comes in for youngster Isaac John, who drops out of the 17.

There is also a change at hooker, with Ian Henderson being replaced by Lewis Brown, who will get a chance in his favoured dummy-half role having impressed in the second row.

Brown's move into the starting 13 means Ukuma Ta'ai comes back on to the interchange bench.

Skipper Steve Price, who missed the match against the Panthers, remains sidelined with a rib cartilage injury.

In Price's absence, lock Micheal Luck will again assume the captaincy.

The competition's top tackler over the past two seasons, when his totals were 959 in 2007 and 957 last year, Luck looks set to break the 1,000 barrier this year.

After making an NRL record 74 tackles in the 14-14 draw with Melbourne in April, he finished with 65 against Penrith to take his tally to 838 in 18 games at an average of almost 47.

Next best on 770 is Gold Coast hooker Nathan Friend.

Cleary said the selection changes gave the side a fresh balance.

"In Elijah's case, it's great that we're able to give a debut to another player who has come through our system," he said.

"In the last two seasons, we've seen the benefits of the NYC competition and the chance it has given us to bring through local players."

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