Big names return for Warriors

Tohu Harris is hopeful of returning for the Warriors this weekend. Photo: Getty Images
Tohu Harris is hopeful of returning for the Warriors this weekend. Photo: Getty Images
As the Warriors enter the final quarter of the season, the cavalry is beginning to return.

The team has overachieved so far in 2018, but it will mean little if they don't perform in the six remaining games this season, starting with a tricky match on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

It's a must win game – both for confidence and also their finals prospects – and their hopes were boosted on Tuesday, with Tohu Harris, Blake Green and Issac Luke all named to start.

Second rower Leivaha Pulu could also make a long awaited return, after being listed on the interchange bench.

The presence of Harris is vital in the run-in; the Kiwis international has been one of the buys of the season, and adds both attacking threat and defensive grunt to the right edge.

He's developed a strong combination with Shaun Johnson on the right flank, and his big game experience will be crucial in a Warriors team that is still green around the edges.

The 26-year-old comes back four weeks after picking up a knee injury in the round 16 loss to the Sharks.

"He needs to get through a couple of hoops before we give him the all clear but we want to try and give him every opportunity," Warriors coach Stephen Kearney told Radio Sport.

It's a similar situation for Luke, after the hooker limped off midway through the second half against the Storm with a calf strain.

"It's a diffiuclt one," said Kearney. "We've named him in the group but he has to get through a few hoops to pass. He's pulled up a lot better than he did last week but it's a wait and see with Issac."

Pulu could be a wildcard as the season enters a climax; he was a key part of the Warriors five game winning run to start the season, before being forced off with a foot injury in the round six loss to the Broncos.

He brought a physical presence to the Warriors pack that has been hard to replicate since then and his strong performance against Wyong in reserve grade last week (60 minutes, 76 metres from 10 runs, 26 tackles) was an encouraging sign.

Green's absence last week ended his ever present run this year – he was the only Warrior to figure in each of their first 18 games – and his composure was missed in the 12-6 loss to the Storm.

"We were not clinical enough," reflected Kearney. "We had chances during the game [but] the game is made up of moments and they took a couple better than we did."

Looking ahead, Kearney is taking nothing for granted against the Titans, despite the Warriors remarkable record against them, with 14 victories from the last 15 encounters.

"They are a good footy team," said Kearney. "We struggled with them here in round two. We know what we are in for. For us it is about taking the good parts from our game last week and fixing up the areas where we weren't so good."

Warriors

1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C)
2 David Fusitu'a
3 Gerard Beale
4 Solomone Kata
5 Ken Maumalo
6 Blake Green
7 Shaun Johnson
8 James Gavet
9 Issac Luke
10 Agnatius Paasi
11 Isaiah Papali'i
12 Tohu Harris
13 Simon Mannering

Interchange:
14 Jazz Tevaga
15 Sam Lisone
16 Joseph Vuna
17 Bunty Afoa
18 Peta Hiku
20 Karl Lawton
21 Leivaha Pulu
22 Mason Lino

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