NRL: Hurrell returns for Warriors

Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors is tackled during the round seven NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors last month. Photo / Getty Images
Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors is tackled during the round seven NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors last month. Photo / Getty Images

Centre Konrad Hurrell has earned a reprieve after missing the last month and he is the only change to the Warriors starting side to take on the Broncos in Brisbane on Monday night.

Centre continues to be a problem position for the Warriors, and Carlos Tuimavave will miss this weekend's game through a neck injury.

Ben Henry (knee) is out for the season, Jerome Ropati is still struggling with a hamstring strain and Ngani Laumape hasn't been sighted since impressing in the early rounds.

Dominique Peyroux has been called onto an extended five-man bench and could be an option at centre. He is yet to play for the Warriors since joining from the Gold Coast last season and has returned recently from a broken jaw.

Hurrell is a dangerous and powerful runner with ball in hand but has issues defensively and with his handling and has spent the last four weeks playing for the Auckland Vulcans in the NSW Cup.

His inclusion is the only change to the starting line-up used in Sunday's 28-12 win over Newcastle, and he will come onto the right edge to link up with winger Glen Fisiiahi.

Prop Jacob Lillyman will make his 150th career NRL appearance against a Brisbane side missing four players in the Queensland squad for this year's first State of Origin match in Sydney next Wednesday - centre Justin Hodges, back rowers Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker and utility Matt Gillett.

While delighted with Sunday's victory against the Knights, Warriors coach Matthew Elliott said there was still much to work on.

"In the effort and attitude stakes we were terrific against Newcastle but I didn't think it was one of our best performances in terms of execution,'' he said. "We'll need that effort and attitude as well as improved execution consistently if we're to prosper in the coming weeks and especially facing the Broncos at Suncorp.''

While their completion rate was below 70 per cent, the Warriors came up with their best defensive display of the season on Sunday, restricting the Knights to just 12 points and keeping a team scoreless in the second half for the first time this year.

A number of the players produced exceptional statistics, especially the players' player of the day Feleti Mateo. In his first 80-minute effort of the season, he made 26 runs, gained 228m, made six tackle breaks, popped five offloads and also made 28 tackles.

Six other players ran for more than 100m - Sam Rapira (131), Ben Matulino (136), Lillyman (126), Manu Vatuvei (154), Kevin Locke (110) and Fisiiahi (105) and Nathan Friend made 51 tackles.

Elijah Taylor, who made 47 tackles, will start again in the backrow for the injured Todd Lowrie (ribs).

Warriors side to play the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on Monday (9pm NZT): Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Russell Packer, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Pita Godinet, Dominique Peyroux.

- APNZ

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