Vatuvei returns for Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Vatuvei returns for Warriors

05/06/2010 10:33:47 AM Comments (0)

Manu Vatuvei will make a welcome return for the Warriors on Sunday, with the giant winger chalking up his 100th NRL appearance when ladder leaders St George Illawarra visit Mount Smart Stadium.

Vatuvei has missed the Warriors last two games, including last Friday's 50-6 mauling by Wests Tigers, with a leg injury and is fully expecting the Dragons to target his lack of match fitness.

"I think they will, because I've had a few games out," Vatuvei said.

"I think they will try to tire me, but I'll do my best to change their minds."

Vatuvei has played just five games this season, due to leg and hamstring problems, but is still the club's top tryscorer with six despite only lasting the full 80 minutes on two occasions.

But his importance to the side is underlined by an average gain of 126 metres and a huge 5.5 tackle busts per game, underlining his status as one of the most dangerous wingers in the game.

The 24-year-old admitted his horror error-riddled game against Parramatta in 2007, when he was targeted by the Eels after dropping some early high balls, was a turning point in his career and made him a better player.

"That was a learning curve," he said.

"Everyone has one in their careers. I had mine early.

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

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has warned against relying on big things from Vatuvei against the Dragons.

"Everyone knows what Manu can bring, he hasn't played much football lately too so we can't be expecting miracles from him," Cleary said.

"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."

Vatuvei is one of three first-choice Warriors returning from injury, along with half James Maloney and lock Micheal Luck.

However, Cleary will be without halfback Brett Seymour, who succumbed to a leg injury in the 50-6 defeat to Wests Tigers last weekend.

In Seymour's absence, they will field a new halves pairing of Maloney and 21-year-old five-eighth Isaac John.

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