Ben Matulino back for Warriors clash with Eels
Ben Matulino is back.
The in-form Warriors' prop turned second rower who was sidelined with knee problems will return from injury for the team's clash against the Eels at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
The return of the experienced Matulino, who has been lauded as one of the best forwards in the competition at times, will provide a boost to the Warriors as they look to consolidate a spot in the top eight.
Matulino, who had minor surgery to fix a cartilage problem in his right knee, will make his return from the bench after being sidelined for two games while he recovered from the injury.
The 18th-round match will be 25-year-old Matulino's 144th career outing. His return leaves him on target to make his 150th appearance this year for the Warriors - he would be the 10th to achieve the feat for the club.
The only change to the starting line up for the game sees Suaia Matagi coming into replace the experienced Sam Rapira, who has a back injury.
The Warriors come off a bye week and will be hoping they can repeat their last efforts off a bye- where they beat the Broncos 19-10 at home.
The Warriors begin the final nine-game phase of their regular season campaign sitting inside the NRL's top eight on 20 points, only four points behind the top three sides. The Warriors and the Eels are level on points, but the Warriors are ahead on points differential.
The form, too, sits with the Warriors who have won their last two matches and six of their last eight while the Eels have lost their last two matches and won just 50 per cent of their last eight.
It will be a special night for another Warriors player on Saturday with Konrad Hurrell making his 50th appearance for the club. The 22-year-old centre has scored 33 tries in 49 games so far, including four tries in the club's three games at Mount Smart Stadium so far this season.
WARRIORS: Sam Tomkins, David Fusitu'a, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Nielsen, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (c), Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Ben Henry, Charlie Gubb, Raymond Faitala-Mariner.