Rugby League: Coaches clash over week off

By Peter Jessup

By PETER JESSUP

An old argument arises in the major Bartercard Cup semi that is the curtainraiser to the Warriors game at Ericsson Stadium tomorrow: the opposing views from the rival coaches on the value of having a week off.

Minor premiers Hibiscus Coast sat out last weekend as tomorrow's opponents Canterbury disposed of the Eastern Tornadoes. Canterbury and assistant Kiwi coach Gerard Stokes reckons the hard, error-riddled game at Carlaw Park has his side in better shape.

"Physically, it will show at some stage," Stokes said of the Coast's break. "It might only be for five minutes, but we'll be looking to take the advantage."

He put the mistakes of last weekend down to the intensity of the game, but said the performance had set them well for this.

"They're technically a good side. We have to stop their roll and we can."

His opposite, Brian McClennan, said Canterbury were the bigger side but his were faster.

"And no side is as fit as ours. We'll come out of the arm-wrestle in good shape."

He's thankful for the week off.

"We earned it. I'm a supporter of the week off. We've designed our fitness programme to cope - we won't be running out of steam," McClennan said in predicting it would be the Coast coming home late.

Both sides are relatively unchanged after their last turnout. Coast lock Richard White appealed against a suspension for a high tackle on Bulls fullback Lusi Sione in round play and the judiciary this week lifted that, determining that a send-off was sufficient.

Tomorrow's winner gets a week off as the second grand finalist is found. Stokes looks likely to get his preferred option of playing again next weekend.

Manurewa will rotate in the front row to cover for the loss of captain Milton Ross, who has a fractured eye socket, as they face elimination for the second week running, the season over for the loser of their game against the Tornadoes at Carlaw Park today.

Damien Booker is named as prop, but Joe Galuvao, the former Warriors player bound for Penrith, may be shifted forward. The other starting prop, Gavin Welsh, has recovered from a calf strain and will play.

The Tornadoes will be looking for better execution of their opportunities and a better run from referee Billy Shrimpton than they had with Andy Cook last weekend. They have to be favourites.

Eastern Tornadoes: Taki Pulini, Joe Flavell, David Fisiiahi, Paul Fisiiahi, Poha Pulini, Corey Palmer, Hare Te Rangi, Brian Tuia, Jason Tatana, Eric Pele, Sinave Faitala, Andrew Fausa, Fred Tupou. Interchange: Joe Tau, Jeremiah Pai, Phillip Leuluai, Montel Te Hana.

Manurewa Marlins: Kurt Pitman, James Brown, Richard Utai, Anthony Kiro, Frank Perese, Scott Welsh, Channerith Ly, Damien Booker, Cheyenne Motu, Gavin Welsh, Songi Tupou, Joe Galuvao, Wayne Barnett. Interchange: Lance Hohaia, Mike Marsden, Antonio Tusani, Steve Rau.

Hibiscus Coast Raiders: Daniel Floyd, Joe Vaifale, Steve Matthews, Mikio Filitonga, Shaun Ata, Jeremy Smith, Aaron Heremaia, Anthony Seuseu, Regan Wigg, Tyrone Pau, Taite Daniels, Karl Te Mata, Richard White. Interchange: Tuale Fuimaono, Dallas Rennie, Brendon Solomon, Chris Shears.

Canterbury Bulls: Lusi Sione, Scott Woodgate, Gafa Tuiloma, Ray Hubbard, Tangiia Tongia, Scott Nixon, Maurice Emslie, Robert Henare, Shane Beyers, Enoka Mamoe, Danny Champion, Taylor Pelenise, Jonny Limmer. Interchange: Clayton Harris, Ati Mamoe, Jermane Awahau, Malala Puaa'vase.

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