Warriors Recall Matulino, Thompson

Publish Date
Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 9:51AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson have both been recalled to the Warriors to face the Panthers in Christchurch on Saturday.

The pair were two of the six disciplined for breaching team protocol - they admitted to club officials they had mixed energy drinks and prescription medicine on a night out and were dropped from first grade and test selection.

Manu Vatuvei, Sam Lisone and Albert Vete weren't selected, and nor was Konrad Hurrell who denied drug taking but was also banned as punishment for being part of the late night escapade.

Matulino will start on the bench but Thompson is named to start in the second row.

"It has been a challenging time for us but these players have done their time now and all were available for selection," coach Andrew McFadden told Radio Sport. "It came down to picking the best to go up against Penrith this week.

"Past performance came into it. Bodene and Ben have probably been two of our most consistent performers this year so I took that into consideration."

Tuimoala Lolohea and Thomas Leuluai will also make their comebacks from one-match injury layoffs as the Warriors look to record rare consecutive wins. Lolohea reclaims the fullback spot from David Fusitua, who shifts to the wing, and Leuluai is back in the halves in place of Jeff Robson.

Thompson is the only change in the starting pack with McFadden retaining Jazz Tevaga over Issac Luke at hooker and James Gavet in the front row plus John Palavi at loose forward.

McFadden said Simon Mannering was still recovering from an ugly facial wound he received in the 42-0 drubbing by the Storm and should be available to play next weekend while Vatuvei, who had been on medical leave, was being monitored after returning to training yesterday.

"Manu just needs a bit more time," McFadden said.

The team announcement comes on the back of news former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry will help the club over the next month. Team culture is a big focus for the Warriors and McFadden hoped this would improve in the wake of the latest indiscretions.

"There has certainly been an impact on the environment, not necessarily a nice one initially," McFadden said when asked about the changes he had noticed. "I think everyone knows it's for the betterment of the club.

"There has been a lot of commentary around that and we need to own some of that noise. We are trying to change things here. [Managing director] Jim Doyle and I have spoken at length about bettering our standards."

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