NRL: Enigmatic Inu returns to centre for Warriors

By Steve Deane

Krisnan Inu tunes up for the Tigers at Warriors' training yesterday. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Krisnan Inu tunes up for the Tigers at Warriors' training yesterday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Warriors v Tigers
Sydney Football Stadium, 9.45pm Friday

Six days after Manu Vatuvei made a bit of a hash of "doing it for Kris", the enigmatic Krisnan Inu will have the chance to do it for himself.

Having been badly missed in Saturday night's debacle against the Broncos, the oft-dropped Inu will make his return for the Warriors in Friday night's do-or-die semifinal against the Tigers at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Inu has been slated to play left centre, inside Vatuvei, who had a shocker with his hands at Suncorp Stadium.

Inu replaces Joel Moon, who suffered a season-ending dislocation of his ankle in the closing stages of the Broncos defeat. Off contract at the end of the season, Moon faces a lengthy recovery from surgery and has played his last match for the club.

The diametric opposite of Vatuvei, Inu's hands have never been in doubt. The same can't be said of his head and heart.

He has played just one game at centre this season - against the Cowboys in Townsville - when he formed an unsuccessful makeshift combination with rookie wing Glen Fisiiahi. Both were dropped after the heavy defeat. Fisiiahi has been left to work on his game in the NSW Cup with the Vulcans, while Inu eventually made it back for the last two regular season matches only to be dropped to accommodate Vatuvei's return.

A regular centre for previous club Parramatta, Inu played the position in the Eels' 2009 Grand Final defeat by Melbourne, so it's hardly unfamiliar to him.

"I have played centre all my life, I'm not too worried there," Inu said.

Neither is Inu overly concerned about proving a point to coach Ivan Cleary, whose penchant for dropping him suggests he isn't his biggest fan.

"I have more to prove to myself than anyone," he said. "I'm not trying to impress everyone, I just want to do my job and prove I can deliver."

Cleary ruled out a return for former Queensland and Australian representative Shaun Berrigan, who has been battling a hip injury.

"He's not quite there. We have decided not to pursue that one," Cleary said. Other than Inu, the side will be unchanged from the one that flopped in Brisbane.

Prop Sam Rapira dodged a bullet at the judiciary, with the level-one grading of his dangerous throw on Andrew McCullough seeing him avoid a suspension.

Captain Simon Mannering, who suffered a knock to the same knee he injured earlier in the season that forced him to depart early against the Broncos, is a minor injury concern.

"He's a little bit sore but he will be fine for the game," Cleary said. "He could have kept playing but I didn't see any point."

It's hard to argue with that line of thought. The Warriors were dead in the water long before Mannering hobbled off mid-way through the second half.

A horrendous run of errors that resulted in an 18/31 completion rate allowed the Broncos to canter to a 24-0 lead shortly after halftime.

"It was basically the template on how not to win," Cleary said. "It was an aberration from what we had been delivering. I'm sure we can give a better account of ourselves this week."

WARRIORS v TIGERS

Tigers

Tim Moltzen
Beau Ryan
Blake Ayshford
Chris Lawrence
Lote Tuqiri
Benji Marshall
Robert Lui
Bryce Gibbs
Robbie Farah (c)
Keith Galloway
Liam Fulton
Gareth Ellis
Chris Heighington

Interchange: Mitch Brown, Mark Flanagan, Matt Groat, Aaron Woods.

Warriors

Kevin Locke
Bill Tupou
Krisnan Inu
Lewis Brown
Manu Vatuvei
James Maloney
Shaun Johnson
Sam Rapira
Aaron Heremaia
Jacob Lillyman
Feleti Mateo
S. Mannering (c)
Micheal Luck

Interchange: Lance Hohaia, Russell Packer, Ben Matulino, Ukuma Ta'ai.

- Additional reporting: APNZ

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

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