Experienced hooker Nathan Friend returns right on schedule to bolster the Warriors for their match against the North Queensland Cowboys at Mt Smart on Sunday.

Friend, out of action since breaking his jaw in the 30-20 win against Brisbane on May 5, provides a huge boost for a squad which has endured a steady stream of injuries this season.

Also coming back from injury is Glen Fisiiahi, who has been named on the left wing after being out of contention for the 19-20 loss to Cronulla with a knee injury. With winger Manu Vatuvei out for a month with a knee injury, Junior Warrior Omar Slaimankhel made his NRL debut as a late replacement against the Sharks.

Friend will be making his 145th career appearance, Fisiiahi just his ninth, and his fifth this season.


"It's good timing to have Nathan back from his injury,'' said Warriors head coach Brian McClennan.

"We've certainly missed the experience he brings to the hooker's role so he'll really help us a lot there.

"And with Manu out for a bit after his surgery and Glen fit again, it's a big chance for him on the wing.''

While Friend and Fisiiahi have been recalled, McClennan has also done some shuffling among the forwards, with Elijah Taylor switching back to the No13 jersey and Lewis Brown - used at hooker against Cronulla - named as a starting second rower. A five-man bench has been listed comprising Jacob Lillyman, Micheal Luck, Sione Lousi, Feleti Mateo and Steve Rapira.

With fifth-placed North Queensland sitting on 20 points the Warriors (16) have a big opportunity to make inroads on a day with special significance for Ben Matulino and Micheal Luck.

Matulino will be playing at home for the first time since making his 100th NRL appearance in the club's last outing against Cronulla.

Luck made his comeback against Cronulla, his first game in almost nine months since last year's grand final. On Sunday he will play at home for the first time in 10 months.

Standoff James Maloney will be out to build on his feat of becoming only the second player in the club's history to score 500 points (Stacey Jones with 674 points was the first). Maloney's seven points from three goals and a field goal against Cronulla lifted his career tally to 503.

The Warriors will wear a new pink-toned strip on Sunday to mark the NRL's Women in League initiative.

The Warriors team to play North Queensland at Mt Smart on Sunday, kick-off 4pm, is: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Glen Fisiiahi, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Lewis Brown, Simon Mannering (c), Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Micheal Luck, Sione Lousi, Feleti Mateo, Steve Rapira.