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Rib injury won't stop Fusitu'a but Roache in doubt

The Warriors are sweating on the fitness of hooker Nathaniel Roache ahead of Friday's trip to Penrith, while winger David Fusitu'a will require multiple injections again to play through his rib injury.

Roache suffered a back injury 14 minutes from full-time in the 26-18 victory over the Dragons during the NRL Magic Round and failed to take part in training on Tuesday.

Coach Stephen Kearney said Roache would be included in the initial squad to play the Panthers and given every chance to play, with veteran rake Issac Luke to be named as cover.

Interchange ace Jazz Tevaga is expected to be fit for round 10, despite being rested from training on Tuesday.

"[Nate] has got better every day. We have got a couple of travel legs in between, so that all needs to be taken into account," Kearney said.

"We will try and give him the best opportunity to play. He's got a cork, a whack in the back.

Every try from Round 9

"Jazz is just being rested, he had a bit of a sore foot from Saturday. No doubt [Luke] will be named in the 21 that we have to name, obviously with Nathaniel and the position he's in."

While Fusitu'a made a successful return from a fractured rib and popped rib cartilage last weekend, scoring a crucial try in the 58th minute, he told he would need even more pain injections to get through the 80 minutes at Panthers Stadium.

The Mate Ma'a Tonga representative struggled through the second half against the Dragons with almost no pain relief.

"I got three jabs around the area where it was sore right before kick-off … it wore off in the second half, but adrenaline got me through in the end," Fusitu'a told

"We are going to try some different things this week, maybe get a couple in me at half-time as well, it's not the best feeling but it's whatever gets me on the field and gets me through the game.

"I feel like I am still going to be feeling it for the next few weeks to come. It's just a matter of being able to play through the pain.

"When they are wrestling you to the ground they put you in some awkward positions, so I feel it during those times.

"I'm a little bit sore now, but hopefully I keep getting better each week."

The ongoing injury concerns – which have become a theme of the Warriors' 2019 campaign – will likely mean the club once again opts to carry two utility players on the bench against the Panthers, at the expense of another dedicated forward.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Dragons

Kearney said that option was viable thanks to his powerful back five, who with the exception of centre Patrick Herbert all ran for over 100 metres last week.

"We have taken guys into games who have been carrying bumps, so we have to take that into account," Kearney said.

"We are quite fortunate if you look at our team, we have got some outside backs that do a pretty good job of rucking the ball forward.

"It will just depend on who we think is best going to fit the team for that week."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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