Tag Archive: Ben Matulino


Manly 14 – Auckland 12

Brett Stewart has made a successful comeback to rugby league in Manly’s 14-12 pre-season trial win over the New Zealand Warriors at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland. The gifted fullback played 20 minutes against the New Zealand side and declared himself on track to play in his side’s round one NRL match against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on March 12. Stewart, returning to the game after consecutive season-ending knee injuries, hadn’t played since the first round of the competition in 2010. The 25 year-old said he “couldn’t be happier” with his cameo appearance and was keen to get some more game time under his belt. A try to fringe second rower Vic Mauro eight minutes from time was enough to give his side the win. The Warriors had led for much of the physical encounter but couldn’t quite close out the match. Continue reading

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Warriors trial positions, a closer look …

Vodafone Warriors standoff James Maloney will make his first appearance of the year in Saturday’s NRL trial against Queensland Cup side the Burleigh Bears at Whangarei’s Toll Stadium. After missing the Greymouth match against Newcastle, the club’s 2010 NRL Young Player of the Year was an original selection for last Saturday’s encounter with Parramatta in Rotorua, only to be ruled out through illness. Formerly with Parramatta and Melbourne, Maloney (24) had an outstanding 2010 season when he scored 188 points including 10 tries in his first full NRL campaign. It put him in contention for Dally M recognition and he was on the shortlist for the standoff of the year at the Rugby League International Federation’s awards announced at Eden Park last November. Maloney also won selection in the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII which travelled to Port Moresby to play Papua New Guinea. Continue reading

Two matches out from the season opener, Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has no clearly defined role for star recruit Feleti Mateo, or at least that’s how he’s letting on. Cleary is a cool customer. He keeps his cards close to his chest. Very rarely does he openly disclose plans. He’s also a conservative. Take last year’s predominant halves pairing, Brett Seymour and James Maloney. They were solid – not spectacular, directing the ship while providing a level of comfort. Maloney was the standout Melbourne Storm rookie; Seymour the Cronulla Sharks, Brisbane Broncos bad boy who was curtailed by injury, during which time Isaac John staked a claim in reviving the 2010 season. Cleary now has options. Mateo is not the sort of player restricted with a positional label. He’s an out of the ordinary product whose ability lies in the back-row and five-eight; threatening the line both in the middle and on the edge. Continue reading

Warriors worry the Eels

Three second-half tries saw the Warriors beat Parramatta 24-4 in Saturday’s NRL trial match at Rotorua’s International Stadium on Saturday. Tries to Manu Vatuvei and new signing, former Eel, Krisnan Inu gave the Warriors a narrow 8-4 halftime lead, with second rower Taniera Lasalo crossing to pull one back for the Eels. Rookie Warrior Glen Fisiiahi impressed with a brace of tries in the second half, Lewis Brown scoring the last to give Ivan Cleary’s side an encouraging 20-point win. The Warriors were without James Maloney, out through illness, with Isaac John called in as a late replacement to partner former Junior Warriors captain Elijah Taylor in the halves. Continue reading

Warriors almost back to full strength

Captain Simon Mannering, winger Manu Vatuvei and halfback Brett Seymour have been named along with debutant prop Mataupu Poching for the New Zealand Warriors’ National Rugby League (NRL) match against North Queensland in Auckland on Saturday. Mannering and Vatuvei have had restricted game time this season because of hamstring injuries while Seymour has been out of action with a broken thumb since his club debut against Gold Coast in the opening round. “We’ve been waiting patiently for Simon, Manu and Brett to return and it’s a great boost for us to have them back straight after the bye round,” coach Ivan Cleary said today. “All three are obviously hugely important to the side for a whole range of reasons. We’ve had to battle through recently without them but at last we have some better news in terms of our injured players.” Poching has been named to team up with Kiwis prop Sam Rapira in the starting front row while the other change in the packs sees Mannering replace Lewis Brown, with Ben Matulino moving to the interchange bench. With Seymour restored at halfback, James Maloney replaces Joel Moon at standoff and Kevin Locke comes in on the right wing for Patrick Ah Van, who has a broken jaw and is expected to be out of action for four weeks.

Ah Van back for reshuffled Warriors backline

Back Patrick Ah Van will make his first National Rugby League (NRL) appearance of the season for the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday night in a reshuffled backline. The Warriors face Canberra in Auckland and coach Ivan Cleary today named Ah Van on one wing, allowing Brent Tate to revert to his usual spot at centre. Utility Lance Hohaia moves from five-eighth to fullback in place of Wade McKinnon, who drops to a five-man bench, while Joel Moon shifts from centre to the No 6 jersey. There is also a forced change in the starting forward pack, with Ben Matulino replacing Jacob Lillyman, who lasted only 16 minutes of the 6-40 loss to Melbourne on Sunday. Lillyman has been diagnosed with a foot fracture, which will leave him sidelined for six to eight weeks, and he joins an injury list that already includes other frontliners in Simon Mannering, Steve Price, Brett Seymour and Manu Vatuvei.

Warriors receive more bad Luck

Centre Brent Tate has become the Vodafone Warriors’ newest captain after confirmation today that a hand injury had ruled loose forward Micheal Luck out of Saturday night’s fifth-round NRL clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium. Team doctor John Mayhew said Luck, who led the Vodafone Warriors against Gold Coast in round one and Manly last Sunday, had broken his right index finger. “He had problems with the hand on Sunday and x-rays after the game confirmed he has a break in the finger,” he said. “He’ll have this week off to give the injury time to settle down.” With Luck out, Ben Matulino moves off the bench to join Lewis Brown in the second row while Lillyman switches to loose forward. Ukuma Ta’ai, who has been playing for the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup, will make his first NRL appearance of the season. “We seem to be getting tested on the injury front every week but that’s just the way it goes,” said Cleary. Apart from Luck, Mannering and Price, others still injured include winger Manu Vatuvei, first-choice halfback Brett Seymour, Isaac John, Shaun Johnson and Elijah Taylor.

Mannering’s Back

In news that will bolster the already bulging NQ Digger Dandy ranks, Simon Mannering’s debut as Vodafone Warriors captain will coincide with fellow back rower Micheal Luck’s 100th appearance for the club in Saturday night’s second-round NRL clash against Cronulla at Mount Smart Stadium. The 23-year-old Mannering’s niggling hamstring injury ruled him out of Sunday’s season-opening 18-24 loss to Gold Coast in Robina. With Mannering returning, Ben Matulino goes to the interchange bench while last weekend’s debutant Sione Lousi is out with a lower leg injury. He had a 24-minute stint off the bench against the Titans but was unable to return. Also back in the squad after missing the Gold Coast trip is fullback Wade McKinnon. He was named on the bench for the game against the Titans before being forced to withdraw with an infection. He has again been listed on a five-man bench for the Cronulla match.