NRL: Inu named on bench in only change to 'bruised' side

By Steve Deane

Warrior Krisnan Inu. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Warrior Krisnan Inu. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Krisnan Inu appears close to an NRL recall, with the oft-discarded Warrior named on an extended five-man bench for Sunday's match against the Raiders in Canberra.

Inu was added to the Warriors' touring party following last Saturday's 26-8 hammering by the Roosters. Out of favour so far, the extravagantly-gifted Inu has played just 27 minutes in the top grade this season, in the round two victory over his former club Paramatta Eels.

His presence suggests there may be an injury concern in the outside backs.

Coach Brian McClennan described the defeat to the Bulldogs as a bruising affair, however the club reported no serious injuries following the match.

A star of last year's run to the grand final, Inu's continued absence has been a source of angst for a vocal section of the club's fanbase. The mercurial 25-year-old was also often out of favour with former coach Ivan Cleary.

McClennan appears to have kept the faith with the side that underperformed against the Roosters, with Inu's addition the only change. That would represent a reprieve for a forward pack that was utterly dominated by their Roosters opposites.

But McClennan's options are limited, with young centre Konrad Hurrell the only player in the 19-man touring party not named.

The Warriors face a Canberra side stung by Sunday's home 22-6 defeat by North Queensland Cowboys, but also weakened following the loss of prop Brett White for the season with a ruptured ACL. The Raiders also lost second rower Joel Thompson to an ankle injury and were already without David Shillington, Josh Dugan, Shaun Fensom and Trevor Thurling.

Still out for the Warriors are Micheal Luck (wrist and shoulder), Jacob Lillyman (biceps), Steve Rapira (ankle) and Kevin Locke (leg).

With or without a fully fit squad, Canberra has proved a graveyard for the Warriors. Their only win at Canberra Stadium was a 31-24 victory in 1997, while their only other success in Australia's capital was a 22-10 win at Manuka Oval in 2001.

Sunday's match is the first visit to Canberra since a 38-12 loss in 2009.

"It's a really difficult place to go to," McClennan said. "Our record there isn't a good one but we're not alone there. It's a real challenge for all teams to go to Canberra.

"We're just trying to do all we can to be as well-prepared as we can possibly be. Obviously our effort against the Roosters was really disappointing but we're all committed to working hard to compete with the Raiders. It's not going to be easy, though."

After his try-scoring return in his fifth NRL appearance, Glen Fisiiahi will wear the No1 jersey.

RAIDERS
Canberra, Sunday, 4pm (NZT)

Reece Robinson
Blake Ferguson
Jarrod Croker
Shaun Berrigan
Jack Wighton
Terry Campese (c)
Josh McCrone
Dane Tilse
Glen Buttriss
Tom Learoyd-Lahrs
Joe Picker
Bronson Harrison
Josh Papalii

Raiders: Travis Waddell, Jarrad Kennedy, Sam Mataora, Mark Nicholls.

WARRIORS

Glen Fisiiahi
Bill Tupou
Ben Henry
Jerome Ropati
Manu Vatuvei
James Maloney
Shaun Johnson
Sione Lousi
Nathan Friend
Ben Matulino
Feleti Mateo
Simon Mannering (c)
Elijah Taylor

Warriors (from): Russell Packer, Ukuma Ta'Ai, Lewis Brown, Sam Rapira, Krisnan Inu.

- NZ Herald

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