The Warriors may be missing two key players for their trial game against the Melbourne Storm, but coach Stephen Kearney is confident the duo will be fit in time for the first round next month.
Issac Luke and Blake Green are both unavailable for Friday’s clash with the Storm however Kearney says both are tracking well to play in the team’s opening match against the Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium on March 16.
Green is returning from a hamstring strain sustained at training last month and while it was never considered a serious issue, Kearney says he hopes the 32-year-old could feature in next week’s trial against the West Tigers.
“His running has improved every day,” Kearney said.
“He was up and running not long after he put a slight strain in [his hamstring], which was a good sign. We’ve just to keep track of him. The next week or so is important for him to be part of the second trial.”
The road to recovery isn’t quite so short for Luke though, who is coming off a shoulder surgery in the offseason.
Kearney is still pleased with how the 31-year-old is tracking though.
“Providing the next couple of weeks are good to him he should be okay for round one.”
The pair’s injuries mean some younger members of the squad will be given an extended opportunity with halves Adam Keighran, Chanel Harris-Tevita and Hayze Perham all getting a chance to prove themselves.
Kearney said the trio will all be given equal time in the halves while he looks for Green’s new partner following the departure of Shaun Johnson.
Luke will be covered by Nathaniel Roache at hooker after the 22-year-old missed the entire 2018 season due to a serious back injury. Kearney said Roache will get 20 minutes in the first trial.
Regulars Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku Gerrard Beale, skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and wingers David Fusitu’a and Ken Maumalo have also been rested for the game.