YOUR TEAM v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Auckland, New Zealand, March 21, 2017 – Simon Mannering will claim the club record for most NRL appearances and new signing Kieran Foran has been included on an extended bench for the Vodafone Warriors’ fourth-round NRL encounter against St George Illawarra at UOW Jubilee Oval in Sydney on Sunday (6.30pm kick-off local time; 8.30pm NZT).
The 30-year-old Mannering, now in his 13th NRL campaign, drew level with the legendary Stacey Jones’ mark of 261 games in last Friday night’s clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in Dunedin.
Mannering made his debut alongside Jones against Brisbane at Mount Smart Stadium on June 26, 2005, and has gone on to forge a reputation as one the game’s most consistent performers.
He underlined that yet again with a typically whole-hearted 80-minute display against the Bulldogs with 122 metres from 14 runs, 49 tackles without a miss, 11 decoys and 10 supports.
While Mannering takes outright ownership this week of the club record for most games, his Kiwi team-mate Kieran Foran is in line to play for the Vodafone Warriors for the first time; if he does he will become Vodafone Warrior #217. The 26-year-old former Manly and Parramatta playmaker was cleared by the NRL to resume his career in round three but missed the Dunedin match.
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, unavailable for the Forsyth Barr Stadium encounter, has been named to return this week while Tuimoala Lolohea moves back to the right wing where he started the season. Ken Maumalo switches back to the left wing to replace veteran Manu Vatuvei who was forced off with knee trouble in his first 2017 NRL outing last week.
Foran’s ex-Manly team-mate Ligi Sao is also in the extended squad after a strong return from a long injury lay-off in the Vodafone Warriors’ 36-0 win over Wests Tigers in the Intrust Super Premiership last Saturday.
Centre Solomone Kata makes his 49th NRL appearance this week.
The Vodafone Warriors head into the contest with one win and two losses in their first three matches while the Dragons have two victories and one defeat.
St George Illawarra has been the Vodafone Warriors’ most difficult opponent, winning 11 games straight from 2008-2015 before the Vodafone Warriors ended the run with a 26-10 win at Mount Smart Stadium last May.
Overall the Dragons have a 19-5 win-loss advantage since the two clubs first met in 1999.