Warriors set to lose Mannering, Vatuvei - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors set to lose Mannering, Vatuvei

By Nicky Park 01/04/2010 12:45:09 PM Comments (0)

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary is expecting to be without captain Simon Mannering and star winger Manu Vatuvei for his team's next two NRL matches.

But Cleary is backing his team to cover the key absences in Sunday's home clash with Manly after prospering without them for much of last weekend's surprisingly big away win over Brisbane.

Mannering and Vatuvei both limped off with hamstring injuries early in the stunning 48-16 win at Suncorp Stadium, while senior prop Steve Price (heel) is still a fortnight away from his first game in 2010.

"Losing Manu and Simon was disheartening," Cleary said on Wednesday.

"They're probably (out for) a couple of weeks ... they're obviously missing this week and probably next. They're big losses without a doubt."

"But I guess one positive with them getting injured in the first half on the weekend is the guys were able to play the second half without them, and play well."

The Warriors have handed 19-year-old winger Bill Tupou his first-grade debut on the wing in place of the blockbusting Vatuvei.

"We are confident he will step up," Cleary said of the 91kg winger who played in all three trial games.

In another change, Lewis Brown will return from a one week suspension to replace his captain, who aggravated the injury which sidelined for eight weeks over the pre-season and into round one.

Without Vatuvei and Mannering, the Warriors racked up 34 points and conceded just six in the second half of last week's domination of the Broncos.

Unheralded stand-in halfback, James Maloney, who has drifted from Parramatta and Melbourne to Auckland, had a career game, scoring 28 points - including a hat-trick of tries.

Cleary put his side's great performance down to the "forwards' foundation".

"With Pricey out guys like Jesse Royal and Russell Packer have been great," he said.

"Sam Rapira has been outstanding and Jacob Lillyman, in his first game this year, was excellent.

"He had to play a lot more minutes than we expected."

Cleary is wary of Manly's "world class" back-rowers Anthony Watmough and Glenn Stewart, especially when they work on the right edge with big winger Tony Williams.

"If he gets the ball in space you're in trouble," Cleary said.

Aussie Micheal Luck will lead the Warriors in Mannering's absence.

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