The Warriors expect an ankle injury to keep try-scoring phenomenon Konrad Hurrell out of Friday's NRL clash against the Brisbane Broncos.
Coach Brian McClennan admitted today that Hurrell, who scored his first NRL hat-trick in Saturday night's 32-14 victory at the Gold Coast Titans, was an unlikely starter for their Brisbane match against the third-placed Broncos.
But the on-the-rise Kiwi club, which broke into the top eight courtesy of Saturday's victory over the Titans, had a piece of good news on the injury front to offset the likely defection of the in-form 20-year-old.
McClennan confirmed superstar wing Manu Vatuvei was on schedule to return this week from a knee injury, and could effectively replace the youngster in the starting lineup.
Hurrell's ankle injury comes at an unfortunate time, with the Warriors looking like they're building some much-needed momentum as the season heads into the business end. The powerful rookie has now snared 12 tries in 12 first-grade appearances, including 11 in his last seven.
"We travelled yesterday," McClennan told Radio Sport.
"He was in a moon boot. He'll get scans today, but wre're thinking after seeing him yesterday he'll be unlikely for the weekend."
McClennan said the emergence of the Tongan-born, Auckland-schooled youngster had not surprised him.
"He's prepared to do the extra work and off the field he works very hard. Because he's athleticlly very sound and strong and powerful, if he looks after himself off the field he gives himself every chance on the field."
McClennan said the Warriors had worked around iunjuries all season, and would do so again for what should be a cracking clash at Suncorp.
"The good news for fans is Manu is looking really good, and is training the house down in rehab. It's looking like he'll be coming back."
The first-year Warriors coach had no concerns about the short-turnaround, with the Kiwi club electing to return home rather that stay on in Queensland.
"I'm sure we'll handle it really well. The best form of recovery is sleeping in your own bed. We'll get the boys in today to do some light work and reviews, then we'll do some field [training] tomorrow and Wednesday before we head back over Thursday."
McClennan agreed the occasion should ensure his players have their heads in the right place by Friday.
"It's a wonderful stadium -- the best to watch any football code in Australasia. It's an honour to go play at a venue like that, against the Broncos who are the most successful club in the NRL over the laast few decades. It doesn't take too much to get excited about that."
The coach was mostly impressed with his team's effort on the Gold Coast, especially the composure they showed in working out of an early 10-point hole. He also enjoyed the way his men closed the game out in the third quarter with some sustained pressure.
But he's also shrugging off suggestions the Warriors are set to launch a late-season charge a la 2011 when they made it from deep in the field all the way to the grand final.
"We don't look too far ahead, and just prepare accordingly for each game," he said. "It's a big occasion playing at Suncorp against the Broncos, and we're just going to focus on that."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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