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Warriors confident Roache can step up

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/06/2017

Young utility Nathaniel Roache has been given a vote of confidence in his ability to step up as the Warriors starting hooker.

A shoulder injury to Issac Luke meant Roache came off the bench 33 minutes into the Warriors' 21-14 NRL win over Canterbury in Auckland on Saturday night.

The outlook after the match concerning Luke was positive, with coach Stephen Kearney saying the 41-Test Kiwi was "waving his arm about".

The injury will be assessed on Sunday but Kearney said he wouldn't have any issue putting Roache in the No.9 jersey if needed.

Backrower Simon Mannering also backed his 21-year-old teammate, who has 18 first-grade appearances to his credit after debuting early last year.

"He's got a lot of ability and he can definitely punch out 80 minutes through the middle, and you see his presence on the field," Mannering said.

"He 's a confident kid. When he gets a chance to run, he backs himself. He could start a game and definitely finish it."

Mannering and Roache both had a part in a key moment just before halftime.

A Mannering offload and Roache's big break sent Shaun Johnson on his way to the line.

The halfback was stopped in a try-saving tackle by backrower Josh Jackson, who was then sin-binned for holding down with the Bulldogs conceding eight points in his absence.

As for Mannering, he produced another typically committed effort: 80 minutes, 153 metres run and 60 tackles without a miss.

Also, typically, he didn't want to talk about his performance when asked.

"Yeah, I thought the team played really well in stages," he replied.

"It was just a real grind, a real battle and that's the way the Bulldogs play. I'm happy for the guys we battled out a tough game."

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