NRL: Return of the wrecking ball

Warriors boosted by Hurrell's return and Matulino milestone ahead of Roosters clash.

Konrad Hurrell will return to a Warriors side desperate to get back to winning form. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Konrad Hurrell will return to a Warriors side desperate to get back to winning form. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Konrad Hurrell will return from injury for the Warriors against the Sydney Roosters in Sunday's Mt Smart Stadium clash.

Ben Matulino will become the 10th player to play 150 NRL matches and also be the first NYC graduate from all 16 clubs to reach the milestone, having been the first to hit the 100-game mark in 2012.

After making his NYC debut in the competition's debut season in 2008, the big Wellington-born and raised back rower-prop became Warrior No142 when he made his NRL debut that year. Since then he has also gone on to play 19 tests for the Kiwis, all of this while still only 25.

For his 150th game, Matulino has been named to revert to his alternative role as a starting prop after being used in the second row in Sunday's disappointing 22-28 loss to Newcastle.

His inclusion in the front row results in Suaia Matagi, who hasn't missed a game this season, being switched to the bench.

Hurrell will start in the centres after being sidelined with a hamstring injury he picked up in the first half of the Warriors' 54-18 win over Canberra on August 3.

His availability sees Ben Henry switched back to the second row alongside captain Simon Mannering with workhorse Sebastine Ikahihifo back at loose forward after missing the Newcastle encounter. Coach Andrew McFadden didn't hide his dissatisfaction with the performance against the Knights.

"It was hugely disappointing, not what we expect of ourselves," he said. "We didn't play well the week before against Cronulla and let ourselves down again against the Knights. Facing a team like the Roosters is a massive challenge with the roster they have and the form they picked up against the Tigers last week. There's no question we will need to be at the absolute top of our game to compete with them."

? Warriors under-20s player James Bell has been charged with spitting following Sunday's match against the Newcastle Knights. The forward was hit with the contrary conduct charge on Monday by the NRL's match review committee for the incident which occurred in the Warriors' 40-34 loss at Hunter Stadium. Footage shows Bell, with blood visible around his mouth, spitting at opposing Knights lock Joseph Boyce.

- NZ Herald

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