Vatuvei record looms for Warriors in NRL

The Warriors will hope to mark a player milestone in better style this weekend when winger Manu Vatuvei turns out in his 200th game for the NRL club against the Wests Tigers.

The Warriors are seeking to snap a run of two losses when they host the Sydney club in Auckland on Saturday, coming off a 30-14 loss to the Melbourne Storm.

That result was a disappointment as it was second-rower Ryan Hoffman’s 250th in the competition.

Winning for the popular Vatuvei will be a priority for the Warriors.

The giant winger is the club’s record try-scorer with 138 and is just the third player to lodge a double century after playmaking great Stacey Jones (261) and current captain Simon Mannering (217).

Coach Andrew McFadden has named the same starting team that lost in Melbourne but has made one change to his interchange bench, restoring Albert Vete ahead of Dominique Peyroux, who is listed as the 18th man.

It means Konrad Hurrell starts at centre again ahead Ngani Laumape, who was a late scratching in Melbourne because of knee discomfort.

McFadden says all the players will be aware of Vatuvei’s contribution to the Warriors when they run out, describing it as a massive achievement.

“Playing 200 games for one club only doesn’t happen too often and what Manu has done for us and for the game can’t be overstated,” he said.

“He stands for all the values we like our players to aspire to.”

Twelve-season veteran Vatuvei needs two more tries to join the retired Nigel Vagana on 140 tries in the NRL, the most by a New Zealander.

Warriors: Tuimoala Lolohea, Jonathan Wright, Konrad Hurrell, Solomone Kata, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Thomas Leuluai, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman, Simon Mannering (capt). Interchange: Nathan Friend, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sam Lisone, Albert Vete. Dominique Peyroux (18th man).

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