NRL: Cover needed for Johnson and Vatuvei

Shaun Johnson. Photo / Richard Robinson
 Photo / Richard Robinson
Shaun Johnson. Photo / Richard Robinson Photo / Richard Robinson

Pita Godinet and Glen Fisiiahi have been included in a 19-man squad for the Warriors' eighth-round NRL match against the Storm at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Anzac Day.

Head coach Brian McClennan said the pair had been added as cover for Kiwi internationals Manu Vatuvei and halfback Shaun Johnson.

Vatuvei and Johnson, both feeling the effects of Friday night's 12-20 Anzac Test loss to Australia, didn't train with the Vodafone Warriors yesterday but have both been named to start in the traditional Anzac Day match against Melbourne.

Brought back into the team travelling to Melbourne later this afternoon is fullback Kevin Locke, who has recovered from the leg injury which kept him out of the Warriors' last three matches against the Sydney Roosters, Canberra and South Sydney. He replaces Jerome Ropati, who is out of contention for the Michael Moore Trophy duel after being forced off the field with a hamstring injury 47 minutes into the 44-22 victory against South Sydney on April 15.

"We're hoping Manu and Shaun will be right to play on Wednesday night but we're taking Glen and Pita as cover," said McClennan.

"Jerome was great for us against the Rabbitohs but his hamstring isn't quite right. At the same time, Kevin is now recovered so he comes back in."

Ben Henry, the players' player of the day against the Rabbitohs, and Krisnan Inu are both named to start in the centres again. Wednesday's match will be Inu's 99th NRL appearance giving him the chance of playing his 100th in the Warriors' home match against the Brisbane Broncos on May 5.

McClennan has named the same starting forward pack initially chosen for the South Sydney match although he subsequently made two swaps with Russell Packer starting in the front row instead of Sione Lousi and Lewis Brown coming in for Feleti Mateo. Mateo backs up on Wednesday night after turning out for City Origin in Mudgee yesterday; captain Simon Mannering and prop Ben Matulino will also be back on deck after fronting for the Kiwis last Friday night.

The Warriors had the distinction of beating Melbourne in the two meetings between the sides at AAMI Park last year, first the Anzac Day match and then the preliminary final which put the club into the NRL grand final for only the second time. However, Melbourne won the other regular season match-up at Mount Smart Stadium.

Warriors side:
1 Kevin Locke
2 Bill Tupou
3 Ben Henry
4 Krisnan Inu
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 James Maloney
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Sione Lousi
9 Nathan Friend
10 Ben Matulino
11 Feleti Mateo
12 Simon Mannering (c)
13 Elijah Taylor

Interchange:
14 Russell Packer
15 Ukuma Ta'ai
16 Lewis Brown
17 Sam Rapira
18 Pita Godinet
20 Glen Fisiiahi

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