NRL: Wingers return for Warriors

Warrior Manu Vatuvei is back on an extended bench for this weekend's game. Photo / Greg Bowker
Warrior Manu Vatuvei is back on an extended bench for this weekend's game. Photo / Greg Bowker

Warriors wingers Manu Vatuvei and Glen Fisiiahi have both been included on an extended bench for Sunday's game against the unbeaten Rabbitohs at Mount Smart Stadium.

Vatuvei has been sidelined with an ankle and knee complaint since lasting only 18 minutes of the season-opening loss to Parramatta but is close to being able to make his return and is included on a seven-man bench.

The bench also includes Fisiiahi who was originally named to face the Cowboys in their dramatic 20-18 win yesterday but remained on bereavement leave following his sister's funeral last week.

Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott will have some decisions to make with Bill Tupou and newcomer Ngani Laumape both performing strongly against the Cowboys but some of that might come down to who is available.

Nathan Friend came through the game unscathed and will start at hooker against the Rabbitohs but there are concerns over fullback Kevin Locke, centre Dane Nielsen and utility Ben Henry, who all failed to finish the match yesterday.

Nielsen didn't return after halftime after suffering a rib injury and Locke and Henry both left the field with head knocks.

"There are question marks over whether we'll have them all against the Rabbitohs but we're certainly hoping they are fit to play,'' said Elliott. "On the positive side we have some more players coming back from injuries.

"Nathan and Jerome [Ropati] both came through their comeback games yesterday and now Carlos [Tuimavave] and Russell [Packer] are set to play too while Manu is in contention as well. That's really good news for us.''

Sione and Sam Lousi, Dominque Peyroux, Alehana Mara, Charlie Gubb and Steve Rapira all remain on the injured list.

The Rabbitohs will bring a powerful side to Auckland, including the likes of Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, Issac Luke, Nathan Merritt, John Sutton and Adam Reynolds.

Warriors side to play South Sydney at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, on Sunday (4pm): Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Ben Henry, Elijah Taylor, Pita Godinet, Glen Fisiiahi, Manu Vatuvei, Sebastine Ikahihifo.

- APNZ

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