Glen Fisiiahi (pictured) and Konrad Hurrell have both been recalled for the Vodafone Warriors’ ninth-round NRL clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday (match day sponsor: Vodafone). Photo: Photosport.
Fisiiahi (22) comes in at fullback for the injured Kevin Locke for 'The Capital Clash' (7.35pm kick-off), the last leg of a triple header following the New South Wales Cup clash between the Auckland Vulcans and the Wyong Roos (3.10pm kick-off) and the NYC encounter pitting the Vodafone Junior Warriors against the Bulldogs (5.15pm kick-off).
Locke is expected to miss up to two games after being forced off the field with a back injury late in the Vodafone Warriors’ 25-24 victory over Gold Coast at Mount Smart Stadium last Sunday.
Fisiiahi has been playing at fullback for the Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup over the last month after featuring on the wing for the Vodafone Warriors in their opening two NRL matches this season.
Hurrell (21) returns to first-grade football after an injury setback for centre Jerome Ropati. The veteran, who made his NRL comeback against Melbourne on Anzac Day, has been ruled out with a hamstring strain picked up in the match against the Titans.
Hurrell (21) started in each of the club’s first seven NRL games this year but was moved back to the Vulcans last weekend.
“It was a relief to learn Kevin’s injury wasn’t as serious as it first appeared. He’ll be back much sooner than we might have anticipated initially,” said head coach Matthew Elliott.
“It means Glen now has a chance in his absence. It’s great for us to be able to call on a player as capable as he is.
“On the other hand it’s frustrating for Jerome to miss out this week. He has been working his way back from another big injury. This is a setback on the road to recovery but we don’t expect him to be out for long.”
Fears senior prop Sam Rapira faced a stint out of the game have been allayed. He played the opening 24 minutes against the Titans before being interchanged but didn’t return after damaging his left hand. Scans proved all clear and he has been named to continue the potent propping rotation with fellow starting front rower Russell Packer and seasoned colleagues Ben Matulino and Jacob Lillyman coming off the bench.
The only other change to the squad is in the five interchange players named with Carlos Tuimavave included alongside Matulino, Lillyman, Elijah Taylor and Pita Godinet.
That frees up Ngani Laumape to play for the Vulcans after being 18th man last Sunday; Tuimavave, used five times at fullback last season, comes into the squad after operating at standoff for the Vulcans in recent weeks as well as filling the same role for Toa Samoa in last month’s one-off Test against Tonga.