Vatuvei to play 100th game for Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Vatuvei to play 100th game for Warriors

By Nicky Park 02/06/2010 04:21:05 PM Comments (0)

Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei is finally fighting fit and will notch up his 100th game when he runs out to face the NRL's top team this weekend.

The 112kg heavyweight has been cursed with a string of leg and hamstring injuries this season, but said he can't wait celebrate his milestone in front of a home crowd on Sunday facing heavy favourites, St George Illawarra.

"One hundred games is a big milestone for me," the 24-year-old, nicknamed The Beast, said after training on Wednesday.

"It's a big achievement for me, especially having it at home with my family and all our supporters."

Vatuvei has managed to become one of the most valued players in the NRL, bouncing back from a horror game in 2007 against Parramatta, which could have ended his career before it even got going.

After making six crucial mistakes with three leading directly to tries, Vatuvei was scorned and blamed for losing the Warriors that game and was dumped from the side.

"That was a learning curve for me, everyone has one in their career, unfortunately I had mine early," he said on Wednesday.

"In a way it was pretty good, it made me grow up and mature a bit and knowing all the little stuff is more important than all the big stuff."

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary praised Vatuvei's growth in the league.

"He's had a few rocky moments early in the career, but I think he's certainly entrenched himself in the team and with the fans and all the rugby league community," Cleary said.

Vatuvei said he's confident he's in top shape but will be prepared to cop the brunt of the Dragon's attack.

"It will be sweet to run fast on it, knowing that I haven't had a few games I might not make it the whole way, we'll see how we go," he said.

"I think they'll try and tire me out but I'll do my best."

Cleary is hoping his side will be able to redeem itself after being mauled by the Wests Tigers last week, suffering a 50-6 loss.

But he isn't putting any pressure on Vatuvei to save the side.

"He hasn't played much football lately too so we can't be expecting miracles from him," Cleary said.

The Warriors will also welcome back lock Micheal Luck and half James Maloney but will be missing Brett Seymour for the match at Mt Smart after he was diagnosed with a leg fracture.

Only three games into a comeback from a broken thumb, Seymour now faces four weeks on the sideline after scans revealed he has a small fracture at the top of the fibula in his left leg.

Maloney will take Seymour's spot at halfback while Isaac John will make his first NRL appearance of the year, at five-eighth.

Cleary was confident John's youthful exuberance would boost the lagging side which has now slipped out of the top eight.

"Isaac's just got to play to his strengths and keep it simple.

"I just want him to play his natural game, be enthusiastic."

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