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Injured Warriors trio fit to face Panthers

Newshub logoNewshub 3 days ago Ben Francis
a man holding a football ball: Jazz Tevaga. © Photo - Photosport; Video - Newshub Jazz Tevaga.

Warriors assistant coach Stacey Jones expects injured trio Tohu Harris, Jazz Tevaga and Nathaniel Roache to overcome their niggles to face the Panthers in Penrith on Friday night.

Harris (knee) and  Tevaga (foot) both completed the Warriors captains run before jumping on the plane to Sydney, but Roache (back) trained away from the main group as he aims to prove his fitness. 

Jones predicts the same 17 that played in the come-from-behind 26-18 win against the Dragons to face the Panthers at Penrith Stadium.

"They're fine," said Jones. "Our squad hasn't been confirmed yet, but they should be right to go.

"All the bodies named are okay and hopefully, that's the team that goes out on the field." 

If the Warriors use the same 17 that played in the 'Magic Round', more than 550 games of experience will be forced to watch the match from the stands, with Issac Luke (260) and Adam Blair (297) named on the extended bench. 

Adam Blair, Issac Luke are posing for a picture © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

If Roache can't recover from his back injury, Luke will likely start, with super-sub Karl Lawton injecting flare off the bench.

The Warriors will be wary of risking Roache, due to his past with back injuries. The 23-year-old missed all off of 2018 with a lumbar-disk injury.

Jones puts Luke's poor form down to off-season shoulder surgery, which saw him miss the entire pre-season.

"Players need to have a good pre-season and be ready to go. We've had a toughie around that position, with Karl, Issac and Nathaniel being injured.

"He's plugging away doing his best and I'm sure a player like him will regain form."

Penrith have won 10 of their last 13 games against the Warriors, including the past five at home, dating back to 2012.

While the Warriors' struggles this season have been noted, the Panthers have arguably been worse, winning twice in nine games and sitting 15th in the standings.

The hosts are aiming to avoid a sixth straight defeat for the first time in almost two decades.

To fix their woes, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has dropped two former Kangaroos in Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Josh Mansour.  

"I thought changes were necessary," said Cleary. "I certainly don't do it lightly.

"I also prefer not to talk about it individually, but clearly I felt the need to make some changes."


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