NRL: Elliott names two changes for Knights game

Matthew Elliott. Photo / Michael Craig
Matthew Elliott. Photo / Michael Craig

Warriors coach Matt Elliott has resisted the urge to make wholesale changes to his side to face Newcastle on Sunday but opted for an extended seven-man interchange bench as he reviews his options.

Fullback Kevin Locke (back) and centre Dane Nielsen (ribs) have both been named to face the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday, which has seen Glen Fisiiahi and Carlos Tuimavave named on an extended bench that also includes Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Elijah Taylor, Pita Godinet and Ngani Laumape.

Newcastle will arrive in Auckland with renewed confidence after their 44-8 destruction of the Bulldogs last Sunday - that result marked a remarkable transformation after they conceded 44 unanswered points in a 14-44 loss to Canberra the previous week - and it will be in stark contrast to the Warriors who are still reeling from Saturday night's record 62-6 defeat to the Panthers. The scoreline read 62-0 until winger Manu Vatuvei scored his fifth try of the season in the 78th minute.

"We didn't compete in physical terms last week and that's simply not good enough in this competition,'' Elliott said. "If you don't measure up in the physical exchanges you'll be humiliated - and we were.

"It was a defining game for us. It's clear to everyone what we need to do to win back some pride after all the work done in the previous six matches.

"We all know we've got plenty of work to do this week to take on a Newcastle side capable of putting lots of points on you, as they did against the Bulldogs.''

Warriors team to play Newcastle at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, on Sunday (4.05pm): (three to be omitted) Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Dane Nielsen, Ben Henry, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Russell Packer, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Todd Lowrie, Interchange: Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Elijah Taylor, Carlos Tuimavave, Glen Fisiiahi, Ngani Laumape, Pita Godinet.

- APNZ

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