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Thursday, 28 February 2013

NRL 2013: Warriors Season Preview

Season Preview:
WARRIORS

2013 NRL Premiership

By W D Nicolson - February 28, 2013


Last Year: 14th with a 8-16 (-112) record and 20 points.

@NRLTweet's BRIEF
Coming off a terrible finish to a season, the Warriors have signed Matt Elliott to get them back on track... but they haven't added a great deal of quality - so the incumbents need to wake up and recall what it took to make the Grand Final in 2011. 

Click Logo for 2013 Team Preview | Link added when published



IMPACT PLAYERS
Dane Nielsen and Todd Lowrie won the competition last year with the Storm... but they also won it alongside Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater. They are solid footy players but the pressure is well and truly on Thomas Leuluai to replace James Maloney at five-eighth (and maybe Pita Godinet or Harry Siejka early on with Shaun Johnson hurt at halfback).


BEST LINE-UP | If every player is available, this is the top squad listed 1-17.
Kevin LOCKE
Manu VATUVEI
Jerome ROPATI
Dane NIELSEN
Konrad HURRELL
Thomas LEULUAI
Shaun JOHNSON
Ben MATULINO
Nathan FRIEND
Russell PACKER
Simon MANNERING
Feleti MATEO
Elijah TAYLOR
Bench:
Todd LOWRIE
Jacob LILLYMAN
Ben HENRY
Sam RAPIRA
Coach:
Matthew ELLIOTT

Remainder of Top 25 Squad/NSW Cup:
Glen FISIIAHI, Pita GODINET, Sebastine IKAHIHIFO, Sam LOUSI, Sione LOUSI, Alehana MARA, John PALAVI, Dominique PEYROUX, Steve RAPIRA, Harry SIEJKA, Sio Siua TAUKEIAHO, Carlos TUIMAVAVE, Bill TUPOU.
Notables from U20s:
Ngatua HUKATAI, Ngani LAUMAPE, Viliami LOLOHEA, Eko MALU, Braxton STANLEY.

PREDICTED ROUND 1 TEAM
Sounds like Johnson is out with an arm injury, so Elliott will either insert Siejka straight into the halves or move Mateo into the #6 and shift Leuluai to #7. That allows him to play an extra backrower - which is the safe option. Packer and Friend are definitely out, while Henry and Ropati are doubts.
WAR: Locke, Tupou, Nielsen, Ropati, Vatuvei, Mateo, Leuluai, Rapira, Mara, Matulino, Taylor, Mannering, Lowrie.
Bench: Lillyman, Godinet, Hurrell, Rapira.

Need an update on who will or won't play in Round 1?
Make sure you take a look at our dedicated NRL Injured List


YOUNGSTER WATCH
Watch out for John Palavi - a backrower who has dominated the NYC and just needs a chance in the top grade to show us all what he can do. Siejka might get an early crack at the big time, but Palavi is the name to write down. And the club isn't short of young outside backs either... you'll know who to take notice of soon enough if they get an opportunity.

HOME GAME YOU CAN'T MISS
Round 2 at Eden Park is the must-see game with Sonny Bill Williams and the Roosters coming to town on the Saturday night at 7:30pm. The game has extra significance (positively) if the Warriors can beat the Eels in Round 1 in Sydney.

PLAYOFF CHANCES
It's doable... but doubtful.
Basically for the Warriors to fight it out in September - Johnson, Mateo, Locke and almost as importantly - Friend, need to be fit and firing for the majority of the season. The rest of the squad are good enough to follow this quartet to respectability, but it comes down to those four to make it happen.


@NRLTweet's PREDICTED REGULAR SEASON FINISH
14th | Are they good enough to be higher than this? Of course, but they'll need two or three hot streaks to make the semis and avoid the lowest third of the ladder.

The NRL Injury List is updated regularly during each week of the season, making it an invaluable Fantasy and Tipping Tool alongside our Weekly NRL Previews once again.

Remember if you want game-specific Late Mail every week, then check out our Round Previews Every Wednesday and they are updated with all the very latest Late Mail on Friday.

If we are missing any players on this list - please comment below, reply on Twitter or email this address.
Can Shaun Johnson or Feleti Mateo take Ben Barba's mantle as the game's best player in the 2013 @NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards?

The Prestigious Award returns for a 4th season in 2013.

Remember you can track all the votes each week after each match in 2013 via the Twitter hashtag #nrltweetpoty

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