Head coach Tony Kemp has named an unchanged line-up for the Vodafone Warriors? critical NRL encounter with the Roosters in Sydney on Saturday night.
In a titanic contest at Ericsson Stadium last Sunday, the Bulldogs just headed the home side 26-24 in a match when both sides scored four tries each.
?Once again we were so close to two competition points,? said Kemp.
?We know these players have the ability to go on with it. We saw that when they beat Brisbane and we have confidence in them matching that performance again.?
Kemp said the disappointment of successive losses since the Brisbane victory had to be put to one side as the club launched a rearguard bid to reach the play-offs.
?We have seven matches left to play and we?re desperate to start by beating the Roosters this weekend,? he said.
?They?re also desperate because we?re both in a battle with a number of other sides trying to make it into the top eight.
?Every match from now on will be like a grand final for us. That?s the position we?re in.? The Vodafone Warriors begin their mission sitting in 12th place on 16 points while the Roosters are seventh on 20. However, the Roosters have used both of their byes while the Vodafone Warriors still have one to come. When the two teams met at Ericsson Stadium in mid-May, they produced a match of finals intensity with the Roosters edging out the Vodafone Warriors 10-6.
This time the Vodafone Warriors strike the Roosters with three of their frontline players suspended. Prop Adrian Morley and centre Ryan Cross were already sidelined and today they were joined by utility forward Michael Crocker after he accepted a two-match ban for a dangerous throw offence during last Sunday?s loss to Wests Tigers.
Saturday night?s match at Aussie Stadium gives Vodafone Warriors stand-in captain Stacey Jones the chance to become the 10th player to reach 100 points in the NRL this season. He?s on 97 after his 12 points against the Bulldogs, which took him past 600 career points and also included his 73rd NRL try and his 150th goal.
Also continuing to make an impact on the try-scoring chart is winger Todd Byrne whose 13th try for the season last weekend ranks him third. Meanwhile, official captain Steve Price is still on target to make an earlier-than-expected comeback from knee surgery on Saturday week. He?s in line to be given a final clearance next week enabling him to make his return in the home match against Canberra on July 23. He was originally due to be out of action until the Vodafone Warriors? final regulation season match against Manly in round 25.
VODAFONE WARRIORS V ROOSTERS Aussie Stadium, Sydney 5.30pm, Saturday, July 16
VODAFONE WARRIORS TEAM
1 BRENT WEBB 2 FRANCIS MELI 3 CLINTONTOOPI 4 JEROME ROPATI 5 TODD BYRNE 6 NATHAN FIEN 7 STACEY JONES (C) 8 RUBEN WIKI 9 LANCE HOHAIA 10 RICHARD VILLASANTI 11 SIONE FAUMUINA 12 WAIRANGI KOOPU 13 MONTY BETHAM
14 IAFETA PALEAAESINA 15 KARL TEMATA 16 AWEN GUTTENBEIL 17 SIMON MANNERING 18th MAN: MANU VATUVEI