Warriors stars Luke, Harris in doubt for Titans clash
Forwards Issac Luke and Tohu Harris have been named to start for the Warriors this week but may not even make it onto the flight to Coolangatta for Sunday's showdown with the Gold Coast Titians at Cbus Stadium.
Luke has been named at hooker despite limping out of last Sunday's 12-6 loss to visiting premiers Melbourne with a calf strain while Harris is set to return to the second row for the first time since sustaining a knee injury in a 15-18 round 16 loss to Cronulla, also at Mt Smart Stadium.
However the Kiwis duo remain in doubt with Warriors coach Stephen Kearney to make an 11th hour decision on whether they are fit to be handed boarding passes for the nine-night stay in Australia which has been extended to encompass Saturday week's crunch match against current co-leaders St George Illawarra.
"We'll see how they get through tonight, how they pull up (from Thursday afternoon's training session)," Kearney said of Luke and Harris. "We'll make a decision on those two guys by tomorrow. We fly tomorrow so we'll have to make it (a decision) by tomorrow."
Kearney wouldn't be drawn on whether either player could be drafted into the squad for the Dragons match if they are jettisoned at the Auckland International tomorrow.
"I'm worried about Sunday. We'll worry about next week, next week."
Back-rower Leivaha Pulu is set to come off the bench at Cbus after missing 14 weeks with a foot injury while seasoned five-eighth Blake Green is set to start after missing the Storm arm-wrestle with an injury he is keeping close to his chest for fear of being targeted by the Titans. He replaces Mason Lino who is named in the Warriors 21.
"He's probably a bit further ahead than those two, he's pulled up pretty good," Kearney said of Green, the 31-year-old Aussie field marshal who had played all 17 matches this season before being ruled out against the Storm.
Pulu appeared in each of the Warriors' five straight wins to start the 2018 Telstra Premiership before being forced off the field 23 minutes into the round six loss to the Broncos. He made his comeback ahead of schedule in the Warrirors' Intrust Super Premiership loss to Wyong last Sunday, contributing 76 metres from 10 runs and 26 tackles without a miss in 60 minutes.
"He (Pulu) played 60 minutes for the ISP side on Sunday afternoon so he's good to go," Kearney said.
If Harris does slot into his regular spot on the right edge, Simon Mannering will likely start at lock replacing Adam Blair, who will miss the Gold Coast clash after taking an early guilty plea for a late contact charge on Melbourne's Kenny Bromwich last Sunday.