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Farewell to Big Manu!


Farewell to Big Manu!

Farewell to Big Manu!



Warriors v Penrith Panthers

When: Friday July 14, 2017.

Where:  Manu Vatuvei Stadium!

Watch it: LIVE. SKY Sport 2 from 7.30pm.


It can be a powerful motive, and it surely must be one factor at play for the Warriors on Friday night. I don’t know that Warriors fans have recovered yet from their previous meeting with the Panthers in round ten this year.

It was at Pepper Stadium that the Warriors squandered a massive 28-6 lead to lose 38-28. Oh how handy those two competition points would have come in now. Do the maths. The Warriors would be one win out of the top eight and four points clear of 10th.

As it stands, the Warriors and Panthers are level on points, two wins out of the top eight, and desperate to perform well here at the renamed Manu Vatuvei Stadium.

There’s another motivating factor for the home team. The emotion of the occasion to farewell one of the most popular players to ever represent the club. Vatuvei has been granted a release to join Salford. It’ll be a long time before any one matches his 152 tries for the Warriors.

On the team front, a big factor in the bid for a home win could be the return from injury of internationals Issac Luke and Solomone Kata.

The Warriors have had two weeks to dwell on another one that got away in Round 17 against Manly. They are facing a Panthers side that still has a lot to prove in 2017.

This one is almost too close to call. Ironically, it took golden point extra time to separate these teams in the corresponding game last year. The Warriors won 20-16 with a try to Shaun Johnson.

Overall the head to head record from 38 matches reads, Penrith 21 wins, the Warriors 16, and one draw.

Get set to do some finger nail chewing in this one!

The hot tip:

While big Manu has been listed in the side in jumper No.5, he’ll play no part in the game. His spot will actually be taken by Ken Maumalo. Surely that means there’ll be some destiny about young Ken scoring the opening try.

Kiwi watch:

The Warriors game on Friday night will be the first of six NRL fixtures we have for you this weekend on SKY Sport.

In the late match on Friday night, keep an eye on Jason Nightingale to see if he can grab a fourth hat-trick of the season when the Dragons tackle the Raiders. It’s a feat that hasn’t been achieved in the premiership since 1978.

We’ll have a Saturday double for you on SKY with the Knights at home to the Broncos. Anthony Milford has been listed as some chance to make his return from injury, however it is Benji Marshall named against at six.

Also on Saturday, the Titans host the Sharks. There’ll be a terrific battle in the centres with Konrad Hurrell facing Samoan international Ricky Leutele.

And in a Sunday double, Manly is at home to the Tigers, while the Rabbitohs take their home game against the Cowboys to Cairns.

Te Maire Martin will be looking to build on his impressive club debut for North Queensland after scoring a try double against Canberra in round 17.

From the vault:

Manu Vatuvei was one of the tryscorers for the Warriors in a fighting 13-6 victory over Melbourne in Round 19, 2010.

The other four pointer was posted by centre Jerome Ropati. Both tries came off kicks from James Maloney. It was the Warriors fifth straight win.

My tips for round 19:

Warriors, Raiders, Broncos, Sharks, Sea Eagles, Cowboys.

Twitter: @AndrewVossy

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