NRL: Warriors make two changes to face Dragons

Jerome Ropati will be back in action for the Warriors this weekend. Photo / Richard Robinson.
Jerome Ropati will be back in action for the Warriors this weekend. Photo / Richard Robinson.

Warriors coach Matt Elliott has largely kept faith with the players who disappointed last weekend, with Jerome Ropati and Ben Henry added to the side to face the Dragons at Eden Park on Saturday.

Ropati replaces Carlos Tuimavave, who suffered a broken nose when scoring a try in the limp 36-16 defeat to the Eels on Sunday, at right centre and Henry is added to an extended five-man bench.

Both missed most of 2013 with injury and last weekend Henry played his first game since knee surgery when he was used at five-eighth and scored a try for the Warriors reserve grade side in the NSW Cup.

The Warriors' edge defence needs strengthening, with all of the Eels' seven tries coming down the flanks. The right edge was badly exposed in the opening 20 minutes as Parramatta jumped out to a 14-4 lead.

"Jerome has been pushing hard in the trials and at training to get himself ready for a return to the NRL,'' coach Matt Elliott said.

"He'll stiffen up our right edge with his experience.

"Ben has come back from a serious knee injury. We rate him really highly and he's a big part of our club going forward.''

Elliott said the coaching staff and players were determined to produce a vastly improved display against the Dragons on Saturday.

"Our performance against Parramatta wasn't what any of us saw coming,'' he said. "There was one team out there competing a lot harder physically than we did and that was the most disappointing aspect.

"It's exciting now, though, for us to go back to Eden Park after being involved in the NRL Nines there last month. We've got three games coming up there and can't wait to play in front of our members and fans.''

The Dragons come into the match on a high after their 44-24 defeat of the Wests Tigers in their opening match of the season.

Warriors side to play the Dragons at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday (5pm): Sam Tomkins, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Jerome Ropati, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (c), John Palavi. Interchange (one to be omitted): Jacob Lillyman, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Feleti Mateo, Sione Lousi.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 21 Aug 2014 00:18:29 Processing Time: 968ms