NRL: Rapira to captain Warriors in first hit out

In the absence of usual captain Simon Mannering, prop Steve Rapira will lead the Warriors for their trial match this weekend. Photo / Getty Images.
In the absence of usual captain Simon Mannering, prop Steve Rapira will lead the Warriors for their trial match this weekend. Photo / Getty Images.

Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott has included a mix of experience and youth for Saturday's trial against the Gold Coast Titans at Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads.

In the absence of usual captain Simon Mannering, prop Steve Rapira will lead the Warriors for the match which kicks off at 8.15pm (NZT). New signings Dominique Peyroux and Harry Siejka will get their first starts for the club.

For Auckland-born and raised Peyroux, 24, the match will be a homecoming of sorts. The centre-winger was signed in early November after 16 NRL appearances for the Titans in 2011-2012.

Apart from Peyroux - named to play in the centres - Rapira and former Penrith half Siejka, other players with NRL experience selected are Carlos Tuimavave, Glen Fisiiahi, Pita Godinet, Alehana Mara, Sam Lousi, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sione Lousi and Konrad Hurrell.

The Warriors' most experienced players are all being set for the following trials against Penrith in Hamilton on Saturday, February 16 and Brisbane in Dunedin a week later.

Three of them - Feleti Mateo, Shaun Johnson and Dane Nielsen - are all playing in Saturday night's fourth annual NRL All Stars v Indigenous All Stars season-opener at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

"This trial is so important for us, as every trial is," said Elliott.

"In this case it's an opportunity for us to use our wider squad, to have a look at not just some established members of our group but to also expose some players who are still eligible to play for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in the NYC and players who have been on trial over the summer."

Elliott also highlighted the selection of Auckland Vulcans utility Aaron Nootai on the bench.

Tuimavave starts at fullback, where he finished the 2012 NRL season, while eight-game Warrior Glen Fisiiahi is on the wing. Fisiiahi was a Vulcans regular last year as was Godinet, who's paired in the halves with Siejka, 21, who featured for Penrith in each of the NYC's first five seasons.

Warriors team to play the Gold Coast Titans at Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads, on Saturday, kick-off 8.15pm (NZT), is: Carlos Tuimavave, Glen Fisiiahi, Dominique Peyroux, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Ngani Laumape, Pita Godinet, Harry Siejka, Steve Rapira (c), Alehana Mara, Suaia Matagi, John Palavi, Sam Lousi, Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Atelea Nafetalai, Sione Lousi, David Fusitua, Aaron Nootai, Nathaniel Peteru, Siliva Havili, Konrad Hurrell, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Trent Bishop, David Bhana.

- APNZ

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