11 Feb 2015

Warriors name top team for trial

7:07 am on 11 February 2015

The Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden says he's selected his strongest possible side for Saturday's National Rugby League trial against Penrith in Rotorua.

The Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and fullback Sam Tomkins.

The Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and fullback Sam Tomkins. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The England international fullback Sam Tomkins, star halfback Shaun Johnson, the newly re-signed prop Ben Matulino, New South Wales State of Origin forward Ryan Hoffman, veteran utility Thomas Leuluai and long-serving front rower Sam Rapira will all play in the match.

Other NRL regulars lining up will be centre Ngani Laumape, five-eighth Chad Townsend, props Sione Lousi and Suaia Matagi plus new recruits Bodene Thompson and Matt Allwood.

Talismanic wing Manu Vatuvei and hooker Nathan Friend will miss the trial due to their commitments with the NRL All Stars for Friday night's encounter with the Indigenous All Stars.

Not considered were captain Simon Mannering, Queensland State of Origin prop Jacob Lillyman and centre Konrad Hurrell as well as the injured David Fusitu'a, Charlie Gubb, Glen Fisiiahi and Siliva Havili.

"It's a really important trial for us and we certainly want to win it," McFadden said.

"We've picked the strongest side we can, which was always the plan this week."

"Apart from Manu and Nathan, we're also without Simon, Jacob and Konrad."

"They are getting close but aren't quite right this week so we won't rush them in."

Vatuvei and Friend are the only NRL Nines players not involved.

The starting line-up to face the Panthers comprises 12 Nines players plus Leuluai, who will start at hooker and will also captain the side in Mannering's absence.

Four more Nines representatives are on an extended bench of 11 players.

Of the players used in last Saturday night's 22-12 loss to Gold Coast, Allwood, Marata Niukore, Api Pewhairangi, Nathaniel Roache, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, John Palavi and Albert Vete are on the bench.

WARRIORS Sam Tomkins; Ken Maumalo, Ngani Laumape, Solomone Kata, Tuimoala Lolohea; Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson; Suaia Matagi, Thomas Leuluai (c), Ben Matulino; Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman; Ben Henry.

Interchange: Matt Allwood, Marata Niukore, Api Pewhairangi, Sam Lisone, Nathaniel Roache, Sione Lousi, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, John Palavi, Albert Vete, Sam Rapira, Jazz Tevaga.

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