Meanwhile former captain Simon Mannering will make his 261st career appearance to draw level with the great Stacey Jones - and current assistant coach - for the most games for the club.
And Vatuvei, the club's try-scoring record holder, will make his first NRL appearance of the season - and the 226th of his career - after turning out in the second team in the first two rounds this year.
With Mannering on the cusp of the mark for most appearances it means two of Jones' records are set to bettered in the space of two weeks (Shaun Johnson topping Jones' all-time points-scoring record of 674 with his 56th career try against Melbourne last week).
"I can't say enough about Simon. He represents everything we want this club to be," said Kearney.
"It's a wonderful achievement for him to play that many games and throughout he has consistently maintained the highest standards. You could count on half a hand the number of games he hasn't been up to his usual level.
"Manu has played really well in his two games in the ISP after missing the trials and he'll provide us with the valuable experience we need."
Kearney has significantly boosted the experience factor in the starting line-up for the trip south.
As well as Vatuvei, front rower Jacob Lillyman has been brought into the run-on side as has seasoned second rower Bodene Thompson; they were both used from the bench in the opening two rounds against Newcastle and Melbourne.
Photo: Photosport Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei