Departing Warriors wing Manu Vatuvei has been named in the No5 jersey one last time although he won't feature in Friday's NRL clash against Penrith.

The 31-year-old is an honorary selection only in an extended 24-man squad with Ken Maumalo confirmed to start against the Panthers on the left wing in jersey No21.

The tribute is part of the club's comprehensive plans to farewell 'The Beast' in style, before he leaves New Zealand on Saturday to join UK Super League side Salford.

The club's Penrose home ground is being renamed 'Manu Vatuvei Stadium' for the night and the 226-game veteran will be introduced to the crowd when he leads the side out before kickoff.


Warriors players will also have his name, signature and club number embroidered in their playing jerseys and will warm-up in special t-shirts emblazoned with Vatuvei #115 on the back.

"While Manu isn't contractually able to play for us on Friday night, I really wanted to honour him by including him in our team list," said Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.

"He's one of the club's greatest players and we are really looking forward to giving him a fitting send-off on Friday night.

"He won't play but he'll certainly run down the tunnel before kick off one last time."

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney talks about upcoming game

While Vatuvei will be reduced to a spectator role, the 10th-ranked Warriors welcome back hooker Issac Luke and centre Solomone Kata, as they look to leapfrog the ninth-placed Panthers on the NRL ladder.

Luke returns after overcoming a dislocated shoulder suffered in the round 16 win over the Bulldogs, while Kata reclaims his position after returning from bereavement leave following the recent passing of his brother in Tonga.

"It's certainly been a tough time for Solomone and his family and our thoughts and prayers go out to them," said Kearney.

"We are really happy to have him back and I know he's very keen to play.

"Issac's shoulder has healed well and he's ready to rip in too."

Kata's inclusion sees versatile outside back David Fusitu'a move back out to the right wing, with impressive rookie Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad dropping back to the interchange bench in jersey No18.

Front-rower Sam Lisone also returns to the bench, after family commitments saw him miss their last-start 26-22 loss to Manly in Perth, and he is joined by young playmaker Ata Hingano and James Gavet, Ligi Sao, Chris Satae, Jazz Tevaga and Mason Lino.

Warriors Managing Director Jim Doyle talks about Manu

As part of the festivities, the club will be giving out inflatable hands at the gates and in the membership clubrooms as a tribute to Vatuvei's signature try-scoring celebration.

Members are also being encouraged to check in at the membership clubrooms where a small number of limited edition Vatuvei posters will be available on a first in, first served basis.

Warriors v Panthers at Manu Vatuvei Stadium, Friday 8pm
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c) 2. David Fusitu'a, 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei* 6. Kieran Foran 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Bunty Afoa 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Mafoa'aeata Hingano 15. Sam Lisone 16. James Gavet 17. Ligi Sao 18. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 20. Chris Satae 21. Ken Maumalo 22. Jazz Tevaga 24. Mason Lino.