12 Mar 2014

Centre Ropati returns for Warriors

5:48 am on 12 March 2014

Two players will this weekend return to the Warriors NRL line-up for the first time this season after a 2013 ravaged by injury.

Experienced centre Jerome Ropati has been called into the starting team as the New Zealanders look to bounce back from a disappointing first-round defeat.

Ropati's inclusion ahead of Carlos Tuimavave to face St George Illawarra in Auckland on Saturday is the one change to the starting side who began the season with a tepid 36-16 loss away to Parramatta.

Tuimavave had his nose broken when scoring a first-half try, but he was also on the side of the field where the Eels' attack had plenty of early success.

Ropati, 29, is into his 12th season with the Warriors, but injuries have restricted him to just 15 NRL appearances in the past three years.

There is one change on the bench, with Ben Henry added to a five-man interchange.

The second rower and centre is also coming back from a knee injury that cut short his 2013 season.

St George Illawarra are backing up from a 44-24 win over the Wests Tigers.

They have also been the Warriors' most difficult opponents, winning 16 of the sides' 20 meetings.


Sam Tomkins, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Jerome Ropati, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (captain), John Palavi. Interchange (from): Jacob Lillyman, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Feleti Mateo, Sione Lousi.