28 Feb 2012

2 newcomers for Warriors opening match

9:59 am on 28 February 2012

Konrad Hurrell and Ben Henry will make their National Rugby League debuts for the New Zealand Warriors in the season opener against premiers Manly at Eden Park on Sunday.

Hurrell will start in the centres, while Henry will come off the bench.

Coach Brian McClennan says the two 20-year-olds had demanded selection following their deeds in the club's three trials this month.

Hurrell will partner the club's longest-serving player Jerome Ropati in the centres... Ropati makes his comeback from knee surgery after last starting in an NRL match in March last year.

The only new signing Nathan Friend will debut for the club on his 30th birthday, starting at hooker.

With front row candidates Jacob Lillyman, Sam Rapira and Steve Rapira all sidelined with injury, McClennan has named Sione Lousi and Ukuma Ta'ai to provide support for frontline props Russell Packer and Ben Matulino.

While Lillyman, Sam Rapira and Micheal Luck are missing, 12 of the club's 2011 grand final line-up remain in the 20-man squad.