Shaun Johnson, Feleti Mateo back for Warriors

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 17:53 29/07/2014
Shaun Johnson
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
SHAUN JOHNSON: After missing the loss to Manly through injury, young NZ Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson has been named to return against the Raiders in Canberra on Sunday.

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Key Warriors' players Shaun Johnson and Feleti Mateo will both return from injury in an otherwise unchanged lineup for the side's clash with the Raiders in Canberra on Sunday.

Johnson, who had a strained groin, and Mateo, a calf injury, were both ruled out of last Sunday's 22-12 loss to the Sea Eagles with Johnson's absence, in particular, felt by the team.

The 24-year-old has missed just three of a possible 79 matches since establishing himself as a first-choice selection for the Warriors in 2011 - the last at the end of 2012 - and the team struggled with their tactical kicking options in his absence.

Johnson comes back into the halves pairing with Chad Townsend while Mateo is on a six-man bench with Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Thomas Leuluai, Tuimoala Lolohea and Sione Lousi - the latter two as cover for Johnson and Mateo.

Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden said both players had recovered well after being ruled out of the Manly encounter.

''We're very hopeful they'll be right to play.''

For McFadden and assistant coach Adam Mogg it will be a homecoming of sorts as they head back to their former club, the Raiders.

McFadden had his second victory as the Warriors' head coach against the Raiders at Eden Park in May - a 54-12 win - but this will be his first in charge in Canberra.

The Warriors have won just twice in Canberra in their history but McFadden said he was not worried about the club's poor record.

''I'm not concerned about our record there. This game is about focusing on ourselves and controlling what we can control.

''It's obviously a hugely important match for us in the context of the season.''

The Warriors go into the match sitting ninth on the table after a second consecutive loss. They're one of six teams on 22 points headed by the Cowboys in seventh spot with the Broncos in eighth.

The 15th-placed Raiders have an impressive record at Canberra Stadium with a winning per centage of better than 67 per cent but have struggled to uphold that momentum this year - their 18-34 loss to the Rabbitohs on Monday was their sixth in eight matches at the venue.

WARRIORS: Sam Tomkins, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Nielsen, Manu Vatuvei,  Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering (c), Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange (from):Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Thomas Leuluai, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sione Lousi.

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