Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
19 hours ago
Five of the Vodafone Warriors’ younger NRL squad members have today been re-signed for at least another season.
Props Sione Lousi, Suaia Matagi and Charlie Gubb plus utility Pita Godinet have had their contracts extended to the end of the 2014 season while giant forward Sam Lousi has been secured until the end of 2015.
Of the quintet only Gubb is yet to make his NRL debut but has filled the 18th man role this year.
The towering Lousi brothers and Gubb have all been developed by the Vodafone Warriors through the club’s NYC side while Godinet and Matagi have come through the Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup to earn fulltime contracts. Sam Lousi was in the NYC premiership-winning Vodafone Junior Warriors sides in 2010 and 2011 while Gubb was in the champion 2010 side; Sione Lousi was a Vodafone Junior Warrior in 2008 and 2009.
All five featured in the Vodafone Warriors’ preseason trials with Godinet going on to claim a regular interchange spot through most of the campaign so far while Matagi became Vodafone Warrior No 181 when he debuted against the Bulldogs at Westpac Stadium on May 11.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott is excited about what all five players have to offer the club.
“They all prepared really well for the season and are perfect examples of the way we want to see players emerging and growing through our system,” he said.
“Pita has done a terrific job for us this year, Suaia has really earned his shot in the NRL and Charlie is pushing hard for his chance.
“It’s been a tough year for Sione and Sam. Sam is only just back from injury and Sione is in rehab after knee surgery but they’re both fantastic prospects.”
Today’s announcement follows the recent contract extensions for five of the club’s most promising prospects Ngani Laumape, David Bhana, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Siliva Havili and Albert Vete. They’ll all be in the NRL squad next season, Laumape having already made six NRL appearances this year while still being eligible to play in the NYC.
“The five NRL signings announced today and the extensions for the five young players three weeks ago are all critical to building depth and competition in our NRL squad,” said Vodafone Warriors general manager football operations Dean Bell.
“They also underline our commitment to developing our players through all levels of our system and show the pathways available to them.”
Of this year’s NRL squad 19 came up after playing for the club’s NYC team after the competition was introduced in 2008. Others like Manu Vatuvei, Sam Rapira, Simon Mannering, Thomas Leuluai and Jerome Ropati are all products of the club’s development system.