Explosive centre Konrad Hurrell is back in the Warriors’ starting line-up for the first time this year in Saturday’s fifth-round NRL clash with Cronulla at Remondis Stadium.
Hurrell replaces the injured Jerome Ropati and is the only change to the run-on team from last week’s 42-18 win over Wests Tigers in Wellington.
The luckless Ropati is set for another lengthy stint on the sideline after breaking his jaw just 12 minutes into Saturday’s match.
Ropati underwent surgery in Wellington and his return is tipped to be anywhere between six and 12 weeks.
Sione Lousi has again been named in the backrow, despite being charged with a grade two dangerous throw offence for a tackle he made on Wests Tigers back rower Cory Paterson.
The Warriors have entered a guilty plea, but have disputed the grading. Lousi’s case will be heard in Sydney on Thursday.
If the appeal to have the grading reduced is unsuccessful, Sebastine Ikahihifo is set for his first NRL outing of the year.
He has been named on a six-man bench which also includes back rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner, who has been a regular teammate with Ikahihifo in the club’s NSW Cup side this season.
Back rower Feleti Mateo, ruled out of the last match with a knee injury, also returns to an extended bench.
While Cronulla go into Saturday’s match at the bottom of the points table, the only winless team so far, Warriors coach Matthew Elliott takes no comfort from the Sharks’ position.
“They’ve had a couple of tight losses and last weekend they came up against a Newcastle side which understandably played with enormous passion and intensity following Alex McKinnon’s dreadful injury,” Elliott said.
“We always have the greatest respect for the Sharks. They’re a tough side to play at any time, especially at their place, and they have plenty of quality players who can hurt you.”
Warriors: Sam Tomkins, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (captain), Sione Lousi. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Suiaa Matagi, Feleti Mateo, Thomas Leuluai, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Raymond Faitala-Mariner.