Warriors recall Matulino and Thompson

Prop Ben Matulino and second rower Bodene Thompson, who were among six players dropped to reserve grade for breaching team protocol, have been recalled to the Warriors’ NRL side.

The six were dumped after a late night out two weeks ago and amid allegations that five of them mixed prescription drugs with energy drinks.

The group missed the 26-10 win over St George Illawarra and were also ruled ineligible for selection for their countries in last weekend’s representative round.

Coach Andrew McFadden has included Matulino in the reserves for the match against Penrith in Christchurch on Saturday.

Thompson is in the starting 13 in place of Shaun Lane, who goes to bench after making his Warriors debut against the Dragons.

“Ben and Bodene, along with the four other players, have served their punishment for breaching team standards,” McFadden.

“All six have been reintegrated into the squad as we now focus fully on moving forward to prepare for what is a massive game for us.”

Also back are fullback Tuimoala Lolohea (knee) and five-eighth Thomas Leuluai (hamstring), who sat out the Dragons match because of injury.

Lolohea’s availability means David Fusitu’a reverts to the wing in place of Matthew Allwood, while Leuluai replaces Jeff Robson.

Youngster Jazz Tevaga retains his place as the starting hooker, with Issac Luke again named on the bench.

McFadden has also kept faith with prop James Gavet and lock John Palavi, who were among those brought in after the six players were stood down.

However, second rower and Kiwis skipper Simon Mannering is still recovering the facial wound that kept him out of New Zealand’s loss to the Kangaroos last Friday.

McFadden said winger Manu Vatuvei – who had been on medical leave after being among the six demoted to reserve grade – was being monitored after returning to training on Monday.

Warriors: Tuimoala Lolohea, Jonathan Wright, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata, David Fusitu’a, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Jazz Tevaga, James Gavet, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman (capt), John Palavi. Interchange (from): Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Charlie Gubb, Shaun Lane, Matt Allwood.

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