NRL: Luck to return to Warriors after 258-day wait

New Zealand Warrior Michael Luck has not played for the team all season. File photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Warrior Michael Luck has not played for the team all season. File photo / Greg Bowker

Micheal Luck will end a frustrating 258-day wait between games when he makes his much-anticipated return in the Warriors' 15th-round NRL clash against Cronulla at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening.

The 220-game veteran was today named on the bench in another fillip for the Warriors just hours after their confidence-boosting 30-16 win over Penrith last night, only their second success on the road this season.

However, although there was positive news for Luck, there was another injury setback with hooker Alehana Mara ruled out for six to eight weeks after x-rays last night revealed he had broken his right fibula in the opening minutes of the match.

Mara played on for a few minutes before utility Lewis Brown came on to take over in the dummy half role for the last 62 minutes.

Head coach Brian McClennan today named Brown to start at hooker against the Sharks with first-choice Nathan Friend still unavailable after breaking his jaw against Brisbane on May 5.

Luck, who hasn't played since the club's NRL grand final encounter with Manly last October 2, was elated about being able to return for his 145th game for the club.

"It's such a relief to be able to get out on the field after all this time," he said.

"The last few months have been hugely frustrating so just being back in full training with the boys has been exciting and to now have the chance at last to play again couldn't be better. I can't wait for Saturday night."

Luck has had four operations since October.

He was initially booked in for post-season surgery to repair a severely damaged finger and had another operation at the same time when it was discovered he'd broken his wrist in the grand final.

More surgery was needed at Christmas after he aggravated a shoulder complaint that had troubled him for the best part of two seasons.

As he was recovering from that, he suffered yet another setback in February when it was revealed his left wrist hadn't healed properly, forcing him back into the operating theatre for a bone graft operation and a severely delayed start to his year.

Luck marked his 30th birthday on April 21 by telling his team-mates he would retire at the end of the season rather than take up a new one-year contract with the Warriors. He said he would return to Queensland after seven seasons with the club.

Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Sion Lousi, Lewis Brown, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Simon Mannering (captain), Feleti Mateo. Interchange: Russell Packer, Steve Rapira, Micheal Luck, Jacob Lillyman

- APNZ

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