Major new signing Issac Luke, veteran wing Manu Vatuvei and second rower Ben Henry headline the Vodafone Warriors’ squad for Saturday’s NRL trial against Gold Coast at Whangarei’s Toll Stadium (5.30pm kick-off).
After missing the Downer NRL Auckland Nines, Kiwi hooker Luke will be making his first appearance for the club since being signed from South Sydney.
Vatuvei has already had a huge week with his wife Jennifer giving birth to the couple’s fourth daughter yesterday; on Saturday he’ll make his return from offseason shoulder surgery.
Also making a comeback will be second rower Ben Henry, who missed almost all of the 2015 season after his second serious knee injury in two years.
Four players from the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL Nines squad will face the Titans with Ken Maumalo on the wing, Ata Hingano at standoff and Albert Vete and Charlie Gubb in the front row.
Two other new signings – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Ligi Sao – are also included. Nicoll-Klokstad, signed from Melbourne, is set to start in the centres and Sao, who has returned to the club after three seasons with Manly, is at loose forward.
Other 2015 first graders named are Matt Allwood in the centres and Raymond Faitala-Mariner in the second row. A number of Vodafone Junior Warriors have also been picked including Erin Clark at halfback.
Among those on the bench is former Canterbury-Bankstown, Wests Tigers and Brisbane prop James Gavet, who has been on trial with the Vodafone Warriors in the offseason.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v GOLD COAST
Toll Stadium, Whangarei
5.30pm Saturday, February 13