Shaun Johnson will make his comeback from injury at the NRL Nines tournament in Auckland while the Warriors will also field star signing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the first time.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden says brilliant Kiwis playmaker Johnson has recovered from a broken ankle suffered six months ago and will contest the tournament at Eden Park on February 6-7.
Fullback Tuivasa-Sheck has also been included in the 18-man squad but McFadden has decided against including the club’s other major off-season signing, Kiwis hooker Issac Luke.
McFadden says 25-year-old Johnson is buzzing about the prospect of playing for the first time since suffering the injury while crossing for a try against Manly in Auckland on July 25.
“He had to be confident and he is. He really looks forward to playing in this tournament and we couldn’t be happier to have him ready to go and to be our captain again.”
Four club newcomers have been named, with former Rooster Tuivasa-Sheck joined by former Sharks Blake Ayshford and Jeff Robson and Queensland Cup recruit Henare Wells.
Three of the Warriors’ most experienced forwards have also been included – Ryan Hoffman, Jacob Lillyman and Ben Matulino.
“We’re confident we have a group of players here who are going to put on a good show,” McFadden said.
“For us the Nines is about having some fun while the real focus is obviously on the NRL season to come.”