Kieran Foran named in Warriors squad to play Dragons
Kieran Foran could at last make his debut for the Warriors, on Sunday against the Dragons in Sydney.
The five-eighth has been named on the bench for this weekend's game, with the Warriors desperately needing a lift after their disappointing 24-12 to the Bulldogs in Dunedin last week.
Foran hasn't played a game since last May, when he picked up a season ending shoulder injury for his former club, the Eels.
After that, his personal life hit rock bottom and he was ordered by the NRL to undergo psychological tests before they would allow him to be registered.
That was all ticked off in time for the Bulldogs game, but he still wasn't fully over the shoulder problem.
However, he has been tentatively been given the green light to play this weekend and could partner his good friend Shaun Johnson in the halves.
Foran has been given the No 22 jersey and may not be included in the team when the final 17 is named an hour before kickoff.
But definitely back this weekend is Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who suffered from concussion in the round two game against the Storm, and it means with Issac Luke at hooker, the team will boast the most formidable spine in the NRL.
Although a player in a No 22 jersey doesn't usually take to the field, Warriors assistant coach Steve McNamara said he was optimistic Foran would play.
"He trained really well at the start of the week, he's been training well for the last couple of weeks," McNamara said.
"He's got a couple of things to tick off with protocol on his shoulder, but all being well he's going to be available for selection."
The announcement of Foran in the team, does take some of the gloss off what will be an historic game for the club, with Simon Mannering set to become the most capped player in the club's history.
The Lock goes into this weekend's round with 261 games to his name, the same as Stacey Jones.
But against the Dragons the 30-year-old will surpass the Little General and hold that record on his own.
With Manu Vatuvei out with a knee injury, Tuimoala Lolohea will return to the wing, having played at fullback last weekend, while Ligi Sao has been named on the interchange for the first time this season. Sao played well in last weekend's 36-0 rout over Wests Tigers in the NSW Cup and is expected to be a player to play a significant part in this year's Warriors campaign.
St George Illawarra has been the Warriors' most difficult opponent, winning 11 games straight from 2008-2015 before the Warriors ended the run with a 26-10 win at Mt Smart Stadium last May.
Overall the Dragons have a 19-5 win-loss advantage since the two clubs first met in 1999.
Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Tuimoala Lolohea, David Fusitu'a, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Mafoa'aeata Hingano, Shaun Johnson, Albert Vete, Issac Luke, Jacob Lillyman, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman, Simon Mannering. Interchange (from): Erin Clarke, Charlie Gubb, Sam Lisone, Bunty Afoa, James Gavet, Ligi Sao, Blake Ayshford, Kieran Foran.