Injuries causing a few headaches for Warriors

DAVID LONG
Last updated 19:07 05/08/2014
Konrad Hurrell
Getty
OUT OF ACTION: Powerhouse centre Konrad Hurrell has a hamstring issue and is not available for the Warriors clash with the Sharks in Auckland on Sunday.

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The Warriors have something approaching an injury crisis on their hands ahead of Sunday's home fixture against the Sharks.

Shaun Johnson will miss his third straight game because of a groin injury and joining him on the casualty list is Konrad Hurrell, who has a hamstring problem.

David Fusitu'a is still out injured and when you consider that Glen Fisiiahi is out for the season and Jerome Ropati has retired, it all adds up to a makeshift looking back line for this weekend's game against the NRL's cellar dwellers.

Johnson's absence means that Thomas Leuluai will again partner Chad Townsend in the halves, while Ngani Laumape moves back to his preferred position in the centres and the highly promising Tuimoala Lolohea will start an NRL game for the first time, on the wing.

The influential Ben Henry, who was a late withdrawal from last weekend's win against the Raiders is named 18th man in the squad, so there must be some doubt about his availability.

Johnson had hoped to return to action this weekend, but the club are being extra cautious with their key playmaker and don't want any more situations like last Thursday, when he broke down during the training session.

''It's getting better slowly, it's settling down,'' Johnson told Fairfax Media of his groin injury.

''I'm certainly not going to rush it. Obviously I understand it's an injury that can plague on you for a while if you don't look after it, so I'll be doing everything I can to get it right and if it's not good this week then it's not good.''

Johnson has taken on board advice given to him by Leuluai, who is only a few games back after finally recovering from a hamstring injury picked up at the World Cup last October.

''Tommy is a good person to have around, because of what he went through he's got some good insight into things I shouldn't be feeling,'' Johnson said.

''He's talked to me a bit so I certainly won't be rushing it.''

There were a number of other players who left the game in Canberra early because of injuries, including Sam Tomkins and Sam Rapira, while they've all been named in the team, there could be more changes on the way.

''We got a fair few niggles from the weekend, a few bumps and bruises but hopefully they're all minor,'' McFadden said.

''We'll give most players until the end of the week to prove their fitness.''

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McFadden said it's possible wing Fusitu'a could be right by the weekend, but after two weeks out, he was reluctant to throw him back into a game at NRL level and risk ending up a player short.

''It's still touch and go whether he's going to play this weekend, so he won't be in the squad, just because he hasn't had the game time over the past two weeks.''

While the 54-18 win was a big one for the Warriors last weekend, the game did finish badly for them as they let in three tries in the last few minutes.

The game was well over as a contest by then, but those points conceded did hurt their points differential and resulted in the Cowboys staying above them, in seventh place.

''It did take a bit of the gloss off the victory,'' McFadden said about the end of the game.

''Certainly, we were disappointed with that, it was three tries in about four minutes.

''It was when we were only playing with 12 men, but even so, we didn't defend well in that period with the guys we had on there.

''Disappointing, but still there were a lot more positives out of that game.''

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

- Stuff

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