The Warriors — already staring at monumental task — are without skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for tomorrow night's Anzac Day clash against the Melbourne Storm.
The fullback is understood to be suffering from a hamstring injury. At this stage he has still been named in the Warriors team but the Herald understands he will be scratched and Pita Hiku will likely move from the centres to fullback.
Tuivasa-Sheck joins wing David Fusitu'a and centre Solomone Kata on the sidelines while doubt continues to linger over halfback Blake Green.
Should Green not be fit to play, he's likely to be replaced by Tohu Harris. Fusitu'a has a rib injury and Kata was granted compassionate leave to miss the game.
Earlier, rookie Hayze Perham — who can play at fullback or in the halves — was included in the extended reserves.
Tuivasa-Sheck has been the Warriors' best player in a disappointing start to the season with the Kiwi club desperate to bounce back after back-to-back losses — the most recent being the 17-10 Mt Smart humbling against the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Warriors are looking to reverse a recent history against the Storm that has seen them winless against against the Melbourne side in their past six outings.
They haven't won on Anzac Day since 2014 and last year suffered an embarrassing 50-10 loss on this date. The Warriors went into that match on the back of an impressive win over the St George Illawarra Dragons, and coach Stephen Kearney said there were plenty of lessons to take from last year's encounter.
"We were full of ourselves going to Melbourne and they came out, started really quickly and came up with some tries that I don't think I've seen before in the competition early in the game and we couldn't find our way back," he said.
"It's just about being ready, that's really important for us."
This time around, the Warriors travel to Melbourne on the back of two losses in games they'll feel like they should have won. A late surge saw the Rabbitohs snatch victory from the Warriors two weeks ago, while the side fumbled their chances away last time out against the Cowboys.
The spotlight has been on Green as he continues to recover from a groin injury.
"We'll give him every opportunity to be right," Kearney said of Green. The groin is not something that we can rush him back from."
The Storm look set to be at full strength for the match, with Kiwi utility Brandon Smith expected to overcome a shoulder injury and take his regular spot in the No14 jersey.
If there's one weakness the Warriors could exploit, it's the Storm's shaky right side, but coach Craig Bellamy is confident his side's defence will rise to the challenge.
The defensive combination of winger Suliasi Vunivalu, centre Curtis Scott, second-rower Felise Kaufusi and halfback Brodie Croft have leaked nine of the 12 tries Melbourne have conceded this season, according to Fox Sports.
In their grand final rematch last round against the Sydney Roosters, they allowed two tries.
The left side, in comparison, have allowed just one try through six rounds.
Bellamy switched centres Scott and Will Chambers this season and despite the defensive lapses, intends to stick with the new formation.
"We have had a few issues on that right side," Bellamy said. "There's a couple of things we need to be a bit more aware with on that right side but we're really confident in all those guys, so hopefully they'll be better this week."
Bellamy isn't expecting a repeat of last year's demolition job.
He believes that result was an anomaly and, despite the inconsistent form of the visitors, the Warriors will present a tough challenge.
"It was like being in dream world," he said of last year's game. "At halftime I remember thinking, 'I don't know how this has happened'," Bellamy said.
Warriors v Storm
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Thursday April 25, 9.50pm
Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Gerard Beale, Peta Hiku, Patrick Herbert, Ken Maumalo, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Blake Green, Agnatius Paasi, Issac Luke, Leeson Ah Mau, Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Lachlan Burr. Interchange: Jazz Tevaga, Isaiah Papali'i, Bunty Afoa, Nathaniel Roache, Hayze Perham, Leivaha Pulu, Blake Ayshford, Chris Satae (four to be omitted).
Storm: Jahrome Hughes, Suliasi Vunivalu, Will Chambers, Curtis Scott, Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Brodie Croft, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Felise Kaufusi, Kenneath Bromwich, Dale Finucane. Interchange: Brandon Smith, Christian Welch, Tui Kamikamica, Marion Seve, Patrick Kaufusi, Billy Walters, Albert Vete, Ryan Papenhuyzen (four to be omitted).
Warriors v Storm recent fixtures:
-Storm win 12-6 (July 22, 2018)
-Storm win 50-10 (April 25, 2018)
-Storm win 20-14 (April 25, 2017)
-Storm win 26-10 (March 10, 2017)
-Storm win 42-0 (April 25, 2016)
-Storm win 21-14 (March 20, 2016)