NRL: Johnson still a '50-50' chance for Warriors

By David Skipwith

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson. Photo / Greg Bowker
Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson. Photo / Greg Bowker

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson has a 50-50 chance of taking the field for Sunday's clash against the Newcastle Knights.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has retained the same backline used in last Saturday's 24-16 win against Gold Coast, but the number seven remains in doubt with his injured left ankle.

"Shaun is still 50-50. We'll give him until Thursday or Friday and, if he's not fit, Tuimoala (Lolohea) will make his debut," McFadden said today.

"The good thing is Tui has been training with us. Last week was good preparation because right up until the last minute he thought he was in the side to play Gold Coast."

Veteran prop Sam Rapira has been included on the interchange bench after missing the last three games with a back complaint, however utility Ben Henry has been ruled out after suffering stiffness in his left knee.

Prop Suaia Matagi is named to start in the front row with the other three bench players used against the Titans - Siliva Havili, Feleti Mateo and Sebastine Ikahihifo - joining Rapira.

Apart from Henry, Kevin Locke was not available for selection after being ruled out last week with an ankle injury.

Simon Mannering will make his 200th NRL appearance and 100th as captain in the first home game of the year at Mt Smart Stadium, while hooker Nathan Friend will play his 50th match for the club.

Fullback Sam Tomkins will play despite being issued with a $A100 by police and being hit with an additional $NZ2000 fine from the club, after he was caught urinating in public early on Sunday morning in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins, 2. David Fusitua, 3. Konrad Hurrell, 4. Ngani Laumape, 5. Manu Vatuvei, 6. Chad Townsend, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Nathan Friend, 10. Suaia Matagi,, 11. Jayson Bukuya, 12. Ben Matulino, 13. Simon Mannering (c).

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Sam Rapira, 16. Feleti Mateo, 17. Sebastine Ikahihifo, 18. Tuimoala Lolohea, 20. Agnatius Paasi.

- APNZ

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