NRL: Mateo back in Warriors first-grade side

Feleti Mateo. File photo / Greg Bowker
Feleti Mateo. File photo / Greg Bowker

Feleti Mateo is back in the Warriors first-grade side after a fortnight in the New South Wales Cup.

Mateo is one of three changes the Warriors have made ahead of their clash with the Storm in Melbourne on Friday.

Chad Townsend returns at standoff after also playing in the New South Wales Cup side the last two weeks. He replaces Thomas Leuluai, again troubled by the groin injury which delayed his start to the 2014 campaign.

Jayson Bukuya is again named in the second row. He was named against Canterbury-Bankstown and St George Illawarra before being ruled out due to a nagging foot injury.

"We're managing Thomas through his injury," said Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden. "He needs time off to rest it and we hope to have him back for our next home game against Canberra [at Eden Park on May 10].

"It gives Chad another chance in the NRL. It was difficult leaving him out a couple of weeks ago but he has maintained his form in the New South Wales Cup."

McFadden said he was optimistic Bukuya would return this week after being close to playing against the Dragons while Mateo had earned a recall after influential efforts for the New South Wales Cup side against the Bulldogs and Illawarra.

With Michael Moore Trophy at stake on Friday, both teams have similar form lines over the last month.

The Warriors have followed their 42-18 win over Wests Tigers with three loss while the Storm have had losses to Canterbury-Bankstown and Gold Coast, a two-point win over the Dragons and a two-point loss to the Raiders on Sunday.

Warriors side to play the Storm: Sam Tomkins, David Fusitua, Dane Nielsen, Ngani Laumape, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Jacob Lillyman, Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (c), Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Siliva Havili, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Feleti Mateo

- APNZ

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