Warriors opt for safety
WARRIORS coach Brian McClennan has resisted the temptation to rush fullback Kevin Locke into the side and instead named an unchanged line-up for Sunday's 13th-round NRL clash against the table-topping Melbourne Storm at Mount Smart Stadium.
The same combination fielded in the 22-24 loss to Wests Tigers 11 days ago has been retained, with Glen Fisiiahi at fullback instead of Locke, who has had next to no football for two months following leg and sternum injuries.
Locke was initially deemed a chance to turn out for the Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup last weekend but was withdrawn from the side.
McClennan said Locke's readiness to return to football was still being monitored and Fisiiahi remained a good option at fullback.
"Glen came back into the side against the Tigers and did a good job for us. We have a lot faith in him," the coach said.
Micheal Luck will have a final scan on his broken hand on June 13 and is a chance to face Cronulla on June 16 or North Queensland two weeks later after the second of the Warriors' byes.
The Warriors, who lost to the Storm 32-14 on Anzac Day, will face a Melbourne side in impressive form.
The Storm had its only loss of the season so far against Cronulla in round 10, beaten 12-10, but after a bye in round 11 dismissed Brisbane 34-10 last Friday night, just 48 hours after this year's opening State of Origin clash.
"With their Queensland players backing up, the Storm were really impressive the way they put the Broncos away," McClennan said.
"It's a massive challenge whenever you play against them and it's always a huge occasion for our club taking them on. It's one we look forward to and this one is no different."
McClennan said there was cause for real disappointment in the loss to the Tigers, especially the way his side had played in the second half.
After leading 10-0 at half-time, the Warriors saw their lead whittled away by a Tigers side that completed 100% of its sets in the second half.
The Warriors had a few days off late last week but were back training yesterday before their first field session of the week at Auckland's Mount Albert Grammar School today.
It is the second time this season the club has headed out into the community to train at a secondary school.
Mount Albert Grammar has produced a number of Kiwi rugby league internationals including Fred Ah Kuoi, Sonny Bill Williams, Steve Matai, Thomas Leuluai and Sam McKendry.
Sunday's match will edge prop Ben Matulino closer to his 100-game milestone - it will be his 98th appearance. He played all 28 matches last season and all 11 games so far this season.
Warriors: Glen Fisiiahi, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Alehana Mara, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Simon Mannering (c), Feleti Mateo. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Sam Rapira, Sione Lousi, Jacob Lillyman.