Centre Jerome Ropati has been added to an extended five-man bench in the only change to the Warriors’ NRL side to face Penrith in Auckland on Sunday.


Coach Matthew Elliott has otherwise retained the same 17 players who have turned out in the Warriors’ past three matches.

Ropati, 28, has made 140 first-grade appearances, but his previous two seasons were ruined by serious knee injuries.

The former Kiwi has again had a disrupted year, turning out just twice in the NRL in between battling injuries or playing for the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup.

He missed the Vulcans’ big win over Canterbury-Bankstown last weekend, travelling to Gosford instead to provide cover for the Warriors’ outside backs against Manly.

With four rounds to go, the Warriors sit 10th, two points above the 13th-placed Penrith, who inflicted a 62-6 thrashing on them in May.

While the Warriors’ comeback since that defeat has been stalled by losses over the past two weekends to Cronulla and the Sea Eagles, the Panthers have dropped their last four.

Elliott says the Warriors know what Penrith, despite their recent form, are capable of.

“We’ll undoubtedly be reminded about what happened the last time we met, but a lot has changed since then,” he said.

“We’ve shown plenty of improvement generally, but had a tough day against a very, very good Manly side on Sunday.”

Warriors: Kevin Locke, Ngani Laumape, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (capt), Elijah Taylor. Interchange (from): Suaia Matagi, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lowrie, Dominique Peyroux, Jerome Ropati.

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