NRL: Warriors aiming to pick up where they left off

Warriors coach Andrew Webster admitted that there might still be a bit of tinkering with his side before their NRL round 14 match against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.

After a torrid couple of weeks before their bye, the Warriors’ injury crisis is definitely easing, although they’re not completely at full strength again yet.

“I’m excited to have them because they’re good players,” Webster said of the returning Charnze Niccol-Klokstad, Kurt Capewell, Rocco Berry, Taine Tuaupiki, Tohu Harris and Wayde Egan.

“The guys who have been there the last couple of weeks deserve a lot of praise. We’ve named our squad but the guys who deserve to be there will be there on the weekend. We have some guys who are genuine first graders that need to come straight back in but there are guys who will keep their spots.”

Despite the injuries, the Warriors pulled off two gritty wins to get their season back on track, over the Panthers and Dolphins.

Another player returning is Addin Fonua-Blake, who sat out the win against the Dolphins after Webster suspended him for breaching team protocol. Webster said that they had put a line under the incident.

“We’ve moved on from it … we didn’t brush it aside, Addin had to go be a good teammate and that’s what he did. He’s had a great reaction to it and that’s why he’s there playing this week.”

Addin Fonua-Blake scores the first try of the Warriors 2024 season.

Marata Niukore and Jackson Ford have been named at second row and prop respectively, which is a bit of a surprise given Niukore’s impact as a middle forward in the Dolphins game. Webster hinted their roles may change by the time the game kicks off, though.

“There’s still another training session to go… there might be some moving parts, there might not be. We’ll just gather our thoughts after the captain’s run and name our 19 on Friday.”

Webster is confident of having Shaun Johnson back for next weekend’s match against the Storm. It will be an interesting reintegration into a halves situation that has worked very well in the Warriors’ last two games, with Te Maire Martin playing his best football of the year in Johnson’s absence.

Mitch Barnett is currently in the New South Wales Origin squad, a side that has Blues die-hard Webster’s full support for tonight’s [ game one in Sydney.

“It’s the only time I get to be a fan. The only time I don’t have to analyse a game and just enjoy for what it is, it’s so much fun.”

Cowboys v Warriors

Kick-off: 7.30pm NZT, 8 June

Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville

Warriors (six to be omitted): 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Te Maire Martin 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jackson Ford 11. Marata Niukore 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tohu Harris

Reserves: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Jazz Tevaga 16. Tom Ale 17. Kurt Capewell 18. Freddy Lussick 20. Taine Tuaupiki 21. Bunty Afoa 22. Edward Kosi 23. Moala Graham-Taufa

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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