The Warriors might be without one of their key playmakers in injured hooker Issac Luke, but stand-in duo Nathaniel Roache and Jazz Tevaga are ensuring the side lacks little in his absence.

Luke is scheduled to return from arthroscopic knee surgery in the final round match against Parramatta at Mt Smart Stadium, but the pair of 20-year-old rookies are putting aside their rivalry to help the Warriors stay on course for their first finals appearance since 2011.

As he did in last week's win over the Titans on the Gold Coast, Tevaga's strong tackling will help the Warriors weather the opening onslaught from a formidable South Sydney pack in Saturday's clash at Mt Smart Stadium.

Roache will likely get his opportunity again around the midway point of the first half and look to boost the side's attack by testing the tiring Rabbitohs forwards with his sharp running game.


Tevaga has the slight edge in experience with 10 games under his belt to Roache's eight, but both feel fortunate to be getting long minutes due to Luke's misfortune in suffering a slight meniscus tear in his right knee in the round 21 win over Penrith.

"It's pretty awesome," enthused Roache. "Jazz and I are pretty grateful just to be in the team this year and I think we're handling it pretty well.

"On the weekend we played exactly the same minutes (40) and we're learning off each other so it's pretty good."

A converted back-rower, Tevaga offers some versatility in the middle of the field and while his defensive ability is obvious, Roaches is quick to point out that his No9 comrade is far from a one-trick pony.

"Jazz is a really good defender but he has a lot to offer on attack too," he said. "He's a good runner of the ball and has some good deception around the ruck.

"But when the opposition forwards get a bit tired that's when I probably come into play and I can do my job and add a bit more speed around the ruck."

Roache is also multi-skilled and can play wider out at five-eighth or fullback but some recent time back in reserve grade and in the Under 20s enabled him to work on choosing his moments with the ball in hand and refine his tackling on more evenly sized opponents.

"The main thing for me is taking my opportunities and also my defence, getting better technique in getting those big guys down, because I'm not the biggest dude in the middle.

"Having that time in 20s and NSW Cup definitely gave me time to work on those things and now I am applying them in first grade."

Luke has been a guiding presence for both youngsters throughout the year and Tevaga says healthy competition is helping both to realise their potential.

"I'm loving it," said Tevaga. "The way I play is a bit more grind and then Nate comes on with his explosiveness and carves up.

"We're both in the development group under Issac and we're getting the best out of each other. We have the same goal of getting more game time.

"I'm happy for him if he gets called up and he's happy for me but we're keeping each other honest."