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Tuimavave And Ta'ai Named In Starting Line-Up To Face Eels

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tuimavave And Ta'ai Named In Starting Line-Up To Face Eels

11 August 2009 - Forwards Evarn Tuimavave and Ukuma Ta'ai have been called into the starting line-up for the Vodafone Warriors' 23rd-round NRL clash against the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.

Prop Tuimavave, only two games into his return from a long injury lay-off, swaps places with Russell Packer with Ta'ai moving off the interchange bench to take Ben Matulino's spot in his first starting appearance.

Wade McKinnon returns at fullback after being stood down last week and Jerome Ropati has been named in the centres after missing last Sunday's loss to Gold Coast.

With McKinnon back in the side, Kevin Locke returns to the right wing replacing Patrick Ah Van and Lewis Brown, who started at hooker against the Titans, moves to the bench with Ian Henderson back in the No 9 jersey.

"We didn't start well against the Titans but our bench players did a good job getting us back into the game when they came on," said coach Ivan Cleary.

"Evarn has come back really well in his late start to the season and Ukuma showed lots of good signs with his effort against the Titans. They've earned the chance to start this week."

Vodafone Warriors captain Steve Price is still out with rib cartilage trouble while the club's NYC captain Elijah Taylor, who was set to make his NRL debut last week, is in rehab after a hamstring strain forced him out of the Gold Coast game.

"It was tough for Elijah missing out last week but we're still working towards him having his chance before the season is over," said Cleary.

Second rower Simon Mannering will move within two games of his 100th NRL appearance when he faces Parramatta on Saturday night and Cleary will also have his 98th game as an NRL coach. They're both set to mark their 100th milestones in the 25th-round match against the Bulldogs.

Captain Micheal Luck is only eight tackles short of the 900-mark for the season after his tally of 54 tackles against Gold Coast, the sixth time this year he has topped 50 in a game. His closest rival is Bulldogs loose forward David Stagg on 819.

Winger Manu Vatuvei is closing in on third spot in the Vodafone Warriors' all-time try-scoring list. With his two tries last Sunday, he lifted his 2009 tally to 10 in 16 matches and his career total to 55 in 91 games, just two behind Clinton Toopi's 57 in 129 games with Francis Meli (60 in 110 games) and Stacey Jones (77 in 257 games) the top two.

Vatuvei, named the players' player of the day this week, has scored 26 tries in his last 33 games after snaring 16 in 17 games last year.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v PARRAMATTA EELS

Parramatta Stadium, Parramatta 7.30pm, Saturday, August 15

VODAFONE WARRIORS 1 WADE McKINNON 2 KEVIN LOCKE 3 JEROME ROPATI 4 JOEL MOON 5 MANU VATUVEI 6 AARON HEREMAIA 7 STACEY JONES 8 SAM RAPIRA 9 IAN HENDERSON 10 EVARN TUIMAVAVE 11 SIMON MANNERING 12 UKUMA TA'AI 13 MICHEAL LUCK (c) Interchange: 14 LANCE HOHAIA 15 RUSSELL PACKER 16 JACOB LILLYMAN 17 LEWIS BROWN

COACH: IVAN CLEARY

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