By Peter Jessup
International Sean Hoppe has the opportunity to reclaim a starting place in the Warriors' side to meet Manly this weekend thanks to injury rather than form.
Speedster Lee Oudenryn is ruled out with an ankle strain. Hoppe has been struggling with a shin splint but started to show his capabilities again in training last week and has to take the opportunity now or he may struggle to oust new boy Odell Manuel.
In the opposing backline, Kangaroo Terry Hill might be lucky to get a start after he rained abuse on a touch judge while the Sea Eagles were slumping to a 0-46 loss to the Warriors' first-up victims, Sydney City.
Hill's comments, including the words imbecile and idiot strung together with a mouthful of expletives, were clearly audible to television viewers.
The National Rugby League warned clubs early this month that abuse of match officials would not be tolerated, so the volatile centre appears certain to face rebuke and possible suspension by the league, if not his club.
The Warriors were to be told last night whether centre Nigel Vagana would face a charge over an incident where he appeared to come late into a tackle that ended with Norths' Adam Muir falling over Oudenryn and suffering a cut to the head.
The Warriors expect to hear today how long talented second-rower Awen Guttenbeil will be out after he undergoes surgery on his broken ankle. They are otherwise set for the trip to Brookvale, where they are certain to meet a home side seeking to regain some pride and fired up by a furious Bob Fulton, their coach.
Four Warriors are among those named in the Auckland North squad and two others join Auckland South for the opening round of the national provincial competition this weekend.
Shane Endacott and new signings Peter Lewis, Cliff Beverley and scholarship player Henry Perenara go to Dominic Clark's North side and join 10 players from Fox champions Glenora in the opening game against Waikato at Carlaw Park on Friday night.
The size of the Bears' contingent might have a backlash for them in the Roope Rooster semifinal against big improvers Hibiscus Coast on Sunday.
Clark said there was new interest in the provincial competition now that the Warriors' door appeared to have been opened to graduates from the local competition.
I've certainly told my team that and there are some who are motivated by that opportunity, he said.
Another Warrior making a return from injury, Bryan Henare, and junior Clinton Toopi are in Stan Hill's Souths with a core of talent, including Charlie Kennedy, Esau Mann and Tama Hohaia from Hill's Mangere East club. They play Bay of Plenty in Rotorua on Saturday.
Auckland North: Jarrod Trott (Northcote), Steve Matthews (Glenora), Peter Lewis, David Bailey (Glenora), Bopycie Nelson (Glenora), Len Macginley (Hibiscus), Aaron Tucker (Glenora), Reece Guy (Hibiscus), Junior Fiu (Glenora), Brett Kinbgham (Glenora), Kosta Malamatinos (Glenora), Richard White (Hibiscus), Keneti Asiata (Northcote), Wairangi Koopu (Glenora), Greg Ashby (Glenora), Henry Perenara, Cliff Beverley, Lee Weatherill (Marist/Bay Roskill), Clinton Pouesi (Glenora), Jamie Cook (Northcote), Shane Endacott.
Auckland South: Tama Hohaia (Mangere East), Corey Palmer (Otahuhu), Charlie Kennedy (Mangere East), Ben Fahey (Otahuhu), Loni Filimeohala (Otahuhu), Fergie Edwrads (Mangere East), Gus Malietoa-Brown (Tornadoes), Lionel Pereira (Manurewa), Scott Welsh (Manurewa), Dean Clark (Otahuhu), Channerith Ly (Manurewa), Shane Edwrads (Otahuhu), Gaivin Welsh (Manurewa), Sam Hanson (Ellersllie), Eric Pele (Manukau), Jason Arama (Manurewa), Esau Mann (Mangere East), Bryan Henare, Phillip Leuleai (Otahuhu), Sinave Gasu (Otahuhu), Clinton Toopi, Wayne Barnett (Manurewa), Herman Lomafa (Mangere East), Eneasi Finefeuiaki (Mangere East), Aleo Kapua (Ellerslie).