Lisone and Mannering back to boost Warriors pack
Fresh from his one-game suspension, prop Sam Lisone and his New Zealand Warriors teammates are relishing their duel with North Queensland's big-name pack in the feature match of Saturday's double header.
Mt Smart Stadium will be buzzing, with a crowd in excess of 20,000 expected for the two round five clashes.
The Wests Tigers take on titleholders Melbourne in the first game before the Warriors and Cowboys get down to business.
The Warriors are enjoying a club-best start to a season and Lisone is excited not to be sidelined for the highly anticipated clash.
''This one is going to huge,'' the 24-year-old said.
''I'm fizzing to be back, especially after watching the boys go around against the Roosters.
''I had a well deserved rest, although I spent most of the time running laps with the rehab boys. But now I'm ready to go out and do my job against a tough Cowboys side with that big pack.''
Prior to his short ban Lisone had been a one-man wrecking crew for the Warriors.
Playing off the bench in his team's last-minute road win over Canberra, he ran almost 100 metres and made 13 tackles.
More importantly, he was instrumental in marching the Warriors down-field in the final stages for Shaun Johnson to land a pair of clutch field goals.
The Warriors have been bolstered for the game against the Cowboys by the return of veteran back-rower Simon Mannering, who is making his first appearance of the season after overcoming a shoulder injury.
''It's always good having Simon in your team,'' Lisone said.
''He epitomises everything a Warrior should be. Having him join the bench boys is cool and we are expecting a good crowd, so hopefully we can add some energy and put in a good performance as a bench unit.''
The Cowboys are sitting in the bottom half of the Telstra Premiership standings with just the lone win from their first four games.
Despite their early season struggles, Mannering says the Warriors are not taking last year's grand finalists lightly.
''They are a far better side than their record suggests, we know that, and they have strike all across the park, and particularly in that middle third,'' Mannering said.
''We know we have to put in an 80-minute performance on Saturday and that is the way we have been preparing all week.''