Warriors taking plenty of back-up to Coast - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors taking plenty of back-up to Coast

Robert Lowe 05/05/2011 11:34:02 AM Comments (0)

The Warriors will travel to Queensland with plenty of cover in case any of their five New Zealand stars fail to back-up from the rugby league Test against Australia in Robina on Friday night.

The Warriors have an NRL match against the Gold Coast at the same venue two days later and coach Ivan Cleary is faced with a situation he hasn't experienced in his five previous seasons in the job.

For the first time since he took over, the club does not have a bye on the weekend of the Test.

Missing from their build-up this week are skipper Simon Mannering, fellow centre Lewis Brown, fullback Lance Hohaia, and forwards Sam Rapira and Ben Matulino.

"We're preparing without those five guys and in that sense it's business as usual," Cleary said.

"It will be a little bit different on Saturday when we take the wash-up from the test match. We'll play that card when it comes."

As well as the balance of the Warriors 17 named to play the Titans, winger Bill Tupou, centre Joel Moon, prop Jeremy Latimore and back rower Sione Louisi will be on the flight across the Tasman.

Cleary also said giant winger Manu Vatuvei, who has been out since round one with a knee injury, had trained again this week but there would be no hasty decisions over his return to action.

"We're not going to take any risks with Manu," he said.

"We'll keep an eye on him. He's certainly going well and when we think he's ready we'll throw him in, but we just have to make sure we get that right."

Cleary, who has previously indicated that Vatuvei could return against Newcastle next week, is prepared to be patient with the prolific tryscorer.

"We obviously want him back, but he's been out too long to rush him in."

The Warriors have a dismal recent record against the Gold Coast.

After winning the first two encounters between the clubs in 2007, they have lost the past six.

They are also yet to win at Skilled Park, and the stadium was the scene of a particularly painful defeat in the first weekend of the playoffs last September.

The Warriors went down 16-28 and then could only watch on helpless as their season ended after the Sydney Roosters and the Canberra Raiders scored upsets to keep their own hopes alive.

Cleary said he couldn't really put a finger on why the Warriors had come up empty against the Titans over the past three years.

He noted that, in all three games last season, the Warriors had gone into the lead.

"They were always pretty tight games and they just happened to get over the top of us. Maybe we're due for a win," he said.

After starting the season with three losses, the Warriors have won four out of their past five games to lift themselves to ninth, two places and two competition points above the Titans.

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