29 Jul 2015

Johnson gone but Vatuvei returns

6:15 am on 29 July 2015

Gamebreaker Shaun Johnson is missing but the Warriors welcome back bullocking winger Manu Vatuvei for this weekend's National Rugby League match against the Cronulla Sharks.

Vatuvei has been named on the left wing after being sidelined since last month's win over Canberra with a shoulder injury.

Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei

Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei Photo: Photosport

A new halves and back row combination will also feature for the Warriors.

With halfback Shaun Johnson out for the rest of the season after breaking his ankle in the loss to Manly last round the versatile Tuimoala Lolohea will start in the halves.

Warriors player Shaun Johnson is injured as he scores a try in the NRL Rugby League, Warriors v Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. 25 July 2015. Copyright Photo: Fiona Goodall / www.photosport.nz

Shaun Johnson is helped from the field after breaking is ankle. Photo: Photosport

Lolohea spent almost an hour of the game against Manly in the halves when Johnson left the field and has already started at fullback, in the centres and on the wing so far this season.

Coach Andrew McFadden has been forced to make changes in the back row with Bodene Thompson out with an ankle injury and Ryan Hoffman not yet recovered from his calf complaint picked up in the final State of Origin match earlier this month.

Captain Simon Mannering is moved from the loose forward's role he's filled this season to centre with Ben Matulino switching from prop to start in the second row, a position he filled several times last year.

Taking over in the No 13 jersey is Sebastine Ikahihifo from the club's New South Wales Cup side.

There are also three changes in the outsides backs with three of the club's most powerful ball runners coming back into the line-up.

Konrad Hurrell is back from suspension to line up in the centres and Ken Maumalo is recalled for his fifth NRL appearance on the right wing.

There are also changes on the bench with props Charlie Gubb and Sam Lisone joining Siliva Havili and Raymond Faitala-Mariner while SioneLousi and Jonathan Wright have been named as well.

The last 10 encounters between the two clubs have been split 5-5.

The Warriors have a 9-6 advantage in 15 matches played at Mount Smart Stadium while the Sharks are 18-16 ahead in 34 meetings overall.

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