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Wounded Warriors return to face Rabbitohs
06:09 AEST Wed Apr 3 2013

Having broken their long losing streak, some of the Warriors' depleted playing stocks are being replenished before they face NRL co-leaders South Sydney.

Wingers Manu Vatuvei and Glen Fisiiahi have been named on an extended bench for Sunday's fifth-round NRL game against the unbeaten Rabbitohs at Mount Smart Stadium.

Vatuvei has been sidelined with ankle and knee problems since the season-opener against Parramatta and Fisiiahi has been on bereavement leave following his sister's death.

Confirmed to start in the No.9 jersey for the first time this season is veteran hooker Nathan Friend, who wore No.22 in his return from shoulder surgery in Monday's 20-18 win over North Queensland.

The win was the Warriors' first since last July and ended an 11-match losing streak.

Another player that coach Matt Elliott has confirmed in Sunday's starting line-up is second rower Feleti Mateo, initially included on the bench against the Cowboys.

Also selected are fullback Kevin Locke, centre Dane Nielsen and utility Ben Henry, who all failed to finish Monday's match.

Nielsen didn't return after halftime after suffering a rib injury while Locke and Henry both left the field with head knocks.

"There are question marks over whether we'll have them all against the Rabbitohs but we're certainly hoping they are fit to play," said Elliott.

"On the positive side we have some more players coming back from injuries.

"Nathan and Jerome (Ropati) both came through their comeback games yesterday and now Carlos (Tuimavave) and Russell (Packer) are set to play too while Manu (Vatuvei) is in contention as well. That's really good news for us."

Despite the imminent returns, Sione and Sam Lousi, Dominque Peyroux, Alehana Mara, Charlie Gubb and Steve Rapira remain on the injured list.

Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (captain), Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Ben Henry, Elijah Taylor, Pita Godinet, Len Fisiiahi, Manu Vatuvei, Sebastine Ikahihifo.


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