WINGER Manu Vatuvei is back in the Warriors starting 13 but coach Matthew Elliott has left a buffer for other injured players, naming a seven-man interchange for their NRL match against West Tigers in Sydney.
Vatuvei returns from injury for Friday night’s round 19 clash at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, after a contusion from a whack on his right shin sent him off during the Warriors round 16 win over Brisbane.
Props Russell Packer (ankle) and Charlie Gubb (groin) will travel with the side to Sydney but remain an injury doubt.
Packer is still troubled by an ankle injury he picked up in training last month.
“Those two have to be completely cleared first so there’s some doubt there,” Elliott said.
“We’re not yet in a position where we can confirm what our line-up will be against the Tigers.”
Both the Warriors and West Tigers head into Friday’s match after a bye and Elliott says the New Zealanders will have to refocus after the week’s rest.
“The last time we played after a week off against the Broncos we were a bit off our game in terms of our attack,” he said.
“The effort was great but we’ll need to improve in all areas at a place where it’s difficult to win.”
A five game winning streak for the Warriors ended on July 7, when they were toppled by South Sydney 30-13 in Perth.
Ngani Laumape, who made replaced Vatuvei in that match, has also been named on the bench for the round 19 clash in Sydney.
Queensland’s State of Origin 18th man Jacob Lillyman is also included in Elliott’s seven man interchange.
The Warriors have claimed one victory against the West Tigers in their past four meetings at Leichhardt Oval, taking out the home side 28-26 in 2008.
West Tigers took the win 24-22 in their Leichhardt clash last year.
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (captain), Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Charlie Gubb, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lowrie, Dominique Peyroux, Ngani Laumape, Russell Packer, Suaia Matagi.