Warriors coach Stacey Jones has made the step up to VB NSW Cup and along for the ride will be many of the stars of the Under-20s side he guided to the Holden Cup title in 2014.
Under-20s captain Mason Lino won’t be there from the start but expect him to feature later in the season after the young halfback recovers from off-season shoulder surgery.
Many of the newcomers to the Warriors’ VB NSW Cup squad have spent the off-season with the club’s expanded NRL squad with head coach Andrew McFadden but the likes of Sam Lisone, Solomone Kata and Tuimoala Lolohea can still expect to see plenty of action under Jones.
The club great also knows a key part of his role will be preparing some of the Warriors Under-20s players to take the step up in coming seasons so don’t be surprised to see a host of those players blooded in VB NSW Cup this year.
“Last year we pushed a lot of the -20s players up into VB NSW Cup at different stages of the season to get them that experience,” said Jones.
“We might look to do the same this year but possibly later in the season.”
A former development officer with the Auckland Rugby League, Jones is also perfectly positioned to call on players from the local league should the need arise to cover for injuries.
GAINS: Sam Lisone, Solomone Kata, Tuimoala Lolohea, Mason Lino (all Warriors 2014 NYC).
LOSSES: Abraham Papalii (Roosters), Michael Sio (QLD Cup).