Warriors stand down players from rep duty

Six Warriors players who missed the club’s NRL win over St George Illawarra for disciplinary reasons will also be ineligible to represent their countries next week.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle confirmed on Sunday that the group – who include New Zealand pair Manu Vatuvei and Ben Matulino – have been told they cannot play in the representative round.

The six were not considered for NRL selection against the Dragons on Sunday over an apparent late night out in Melbourne following their dismal 42-0 loss to the Storm at the start of the week.

“What we’ve said to the players is that representing your country in international football is a reward,” Doyle told NZ Newswire.

“It’s a reward for both how you perform on the field and also how you conduct yourself off the field.

“Unfortunately this recent incident that we’ve had means they do not deserve a reward, hence the reason why they are not eligible to play.”

The Kiwis are due to name their side on Sunday night to take on Australia in Newcastle on Friday night.

Vatuvei, Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Albert Vete, Sam Lisone and Konrad Hurrell were ruled out of the 26-10 win over the Dragons in Auckland for what the Warriors said was a breach of club protocol.

Instead, they turned out for the reserve-grade side in the curtain-raiser against the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Tonga face Samoa in Parramatta on Saturday.

Hurrell has played four times for Tonga, for whom Vete was considered to be in line for selection, while Lisone has one cap for Samoa.

Thompson has been a member of a Kiwis squad but didn’t get game time.

Doyle said the Warriors had spoken to the respective national organisations and to the NRL, and those parties had accepted the club’s decision.

He said the players were disappointed but understood the club’s action.

“They are very remorseful for what they have done, but they understand that was caused by them and no one else,” he said.

Asked if the six faced further sanction, Doyle said the focus was now on working with the players “to make sure these things don’t happen again”.

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