Ikahihifo to play first NYC game of season
Junior Kiwi Sebastine Ikahihifo returns from a long injury layoff to make his first appearance of the season in the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 13th-round NYC clash against the Sydney Roosters at Sydney Football Stadium tomorrow night.
The 20-year-old loose forward was among the NYC premiership-winning side’s top performers last year, culminating in him playing for the Junior Kiwis in two internationals against the Junior Kangaroos.
However, a broken leg in the offseason kept him sidelined until a few weeks ago when he began his comeback with his Auckland club Mangere East.
He comes onto the interchange bench this weekend as the Vodafone Junior Warriors seek to extend their winning streak to five. Since losing to Melbourne on Anzac Day they’ve overpowered Penrith 56-26, Gold Coast 38-20, Newcastle 48-28 and South Sydney 62-6 to surge to the top of the points table.
Apart from Ikahihifo’s inclusion, coach John Ackland has made two other changes from the side used in the clash against the Rabbitohs. Jordan Meads returns at halfback for Eko Malu and prop Nathaniel Peteru, who came back home after being in Brisbane’s junior system, will make his debut after being sidelined with a hand injury.
When the Vodafone Junior Warriors met the Roosters in Auckland in April, they won 42-0. They’ve set themselves apart as the competition’s most prolific points-scoring team of the season, scoring a total of 422 points so far (an average of 38 points a game).
Winger DJ Collier is the NYC’s top points scorer with 124 points – he has played only nine games – while fullback Omar Slaimankhel is the leading try-scorer with 14 touchdowns in 11 appearances (and a career tally of 26 tries in 23 games).
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Sydney Football Stadium, Randiwck
5.15pm, Saturday, June 4
1 OMAR SLAIMANKHEL
2 SIMON GIBSON
3 SOSAIA FEKI
4 KONRAD HURRELL
5 DJ COLLIER
6 ADAM HENRY
7 JORDAN MEADS
8 SIULONGUA FOTOFILI
9 EDDIE AKI
10 DONALD TONY
11 SAMIUELA LOUSI
12 BEN HENRY (c)
13 JOHN PALAVI
14 SILIVA HAVILI
15 SIO SIUA TAUKEIAHO
16 NATHAN IEL PETERU
17 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO
18 EKO MALU
COACH: JOHN ACKLAND
Good news imo, he'll only strengthen the team.
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