By PETER JESSUP
There were five late changes yesterday to the New Zealand Residents squad - due to depart for their three-match tour of Australia tomorrow - in the fallout from the Bartercard Cup round.
Out are Warriors Henry Perenara and Paul Whatuira.
Perenara will stay over in Brisbane, after playing for Souths yesterday, as cover for the injured Jason Death next weekend. Whatuira has a torn calf muscle.
Warriors wing Francis Meli was dropped after failing to turn out at the team's Poenamo base. Also gone are Otahuhu's top try-scoring centre Solomon Kiri and Canterbury Bulls halfback Maurice Emslie.
The replacements are Hibiscus Coast vice-captain Anthony Seu Seu for Perenara at lock; Tongan wing/centres David and Paul Fisiiahi, from the Eastern Tornadoes, for Whatuira and Kiri; Manurewa's Anthony Kiro for Meli; and Otahuhu's Shane Edwards for Emslie.
The 20 players go to Melbourne for their opening game against a Victorian State selection on Wednesday night. They play a Sydney Metropolitan Cup rep side on Saturday and a New South Wales country combined club side at Dubbo the following week.
The squad now includes four Warriors. Bartercard Cup leaders Otahuhu supply five players, including Residents captain Esau Mann, and Canterbury, Mt Albert and the Eastern Tornadoes three each.
The loss of that talent for two games should not unduly impact on competition placings as the Bartercard Cup enters its last five rounds.
Otahuhu hold a six-point lead after sneaking home over neighbours Manurewa on Saturday. Five-eighth Hare Te Rangi landed four of six conversion attempts, while Gavin Welsh hit three of five for the difference in a 28-26 thriller that pushed the Marlins back from third to fifth placing, given Mt Albert's thrashing of Northcote.
Marist/Richmond staged the unlikely return and upset of the round to dump Canterbury 42-30 after being 16-20 down at the break, but the result is unlikely to do much for either side's chances. Canterbury are locked in second place with the Eastern Tornadoes and the Brothers are still in the bottom four.
Eastern were never in doubt against the visiting Ngongotaha Chiefs. They were 18-6 up at the break and 30-24 at the end.
fusixpointResidents squad: Lusi Sione, Scott Woodgate, Shaun Norton (Canterbury Bulls); David and Paul Fisiiahi, Phillip Leuluai (Eastern Tornadoes); Boycie Nelson (Glenora Bears); Anthony Seu Seu (Hibiscus Coast Raiders); Anthony Kiro (Manurewa); Fa'avae Kololo, Motu Tony (Marist/Richmond Brothers); Ben Lythe, Peter Lewis, John Vaigafa (Mt Albert Lions); Jonathon Smith, Hare Te Rangi, Shane Edwards, George Tuakura, Esau Mann - captain (Otahuhu Leopards); Chris Faifua (Porirua Pumas). Coach Gerard Stokes, trainer Aaron Whittaker.