Captain Palavi to miss Manly match
Thursday 26 July 2012 1:24 PM
Vodafone Junior Warriors captain John Palavi will end his run of unbroken NYC appearances this year when he misses the table-topping side’s 21st-round clash against Manly at Brookvale Oval in Sydney on Sunday.
Palavi, who turns 20 next Tuesday (July 31), has led the side in each of its 18 matches so far this season but coach John Ackland has taken the opportunity to give the hard-working back rower a break.
“John has played a lot of football and we feel he needs to be rested as we prepare for the business end of the season,” he said.
“It also gives us a chance to look at other options.”
Palavi’s absence means prop Ligi Sao will remain the only player in the squad to have appeared in every match when he lines up for the 19th time this season on Sunday. With Palavi out, Carlos Tuimavave will lead the back-to-back 2010-2011 NYC premiers while Siulongoua Fotofili starts in the second row.
Returning to NYC football after five NRL appearances is Omar Slaimankhel, who’ll line up on the right wing looking to extend his tally of 45 tries in 45 NYC games. The impressive Peta Hiku stays at fullback and 17-year-old David Fusitua returns on the left wing from an injury lay-off.
Ackland has named a seven-man bench including Toka Likiliki, who has filled in impressively on the wing in recent weeks; he scored a try and was the team’s top ground gainer with 178 metres last week.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors are aiming for their sixth consecutive victory, having rebounded from a loss to Penrith with wins over Cronulla, North Queensland, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Newcastle to surge to the top of the NYC ladder on 31 points (level on points with the Panthers but ahead of them on points for and against).
Last week’s success was another grind, the Vodafone Junior Warriors working to a 16-0 lead at halftime and extending to 20-0 soon after before finishing up with a 24-14 result. On the back of two penalties in the opening minutes they had a healthy supply of possession but a 6-0 penalty count in Newcastle’s favour over the rest of the contest altered the tone of the match, enabling the Knights to climb back into it.
Eight players topped 100 metres for the Vodafone Junior Warriors while centre Ngataua Hukatai was close to being the ninth with 96 metres.
Workhorse loose forward David Bhana was again required to work overtime in the middle making a game-high 50 tackles. He’s leading all players for most tackles in the competition with 662, his nearest challenger has 625.
Halfback Mason Lino is only six points short of bringing up 100 points for the season.
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v MANLY SEA EAGLES
Brookvale Oval, Manly
1.00pm, Sunday, July 29
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS
1 PETA HIKU
2 OMAR SLAIMANKHEL
3 NGANI LAUMAPE
4 NGATAUA HUKATAI
5 DAVID FUSITUA
6 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE (c)
7 MASON LINO
8 LIGI SAO
9 SILIVA HAVILI
10 NATHANIEL PETERU
11 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER
12 SIULONGOUA FOTOFILI
13 DAVID BHANA
14 TRENT BISHOP
15 TOKA LIKILIKI
16 ALBERT VETE
17 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD
18 EKO MALU
20 JAMES TAYLOR
21 SIONE FEAO
COACH: JOHN ACKLAND