30 Jul 2014

Johnson and Mateo return for Warriors

7:11 pm on 30 July 2014

The league halfback Shaun Johnson and back rower Feleti Mateo return from injury for the New Zealand Warriors' NRL trip to Canberra on Sunday.

Shaun Johnson

Shaun Johnson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Johnson and Mateo were both late defections from the line-up for last Sunday's 12-22 loss to competition leaders Manly.

Johnson comes back into the halves with Chad Townsend while Mateo is on a six-man bench with Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Thomas Leuluai, Tuimoala Lolohea and Sione Lousi.

Coach Andrew McFadden says both players had recovered well after being ruled out of the Manly encounter, he hopes they'll be right to play but they have Tui Lolohea and Sione Lousi there as cover if needed.

A former Canberra halfback, McFadden had his second victory as Warriors head coach against his old club at Eden Park in May - a 54-12 win - but this will be his first in charge in Canberra.

The Warriors have had only two wins in Canberra in their history with just one victory in 11 attempts at Canberra Stadium, the other win in the Australian capital was a 22-10 success in a one-off appearance at Manuka Oval in 2001.

But McFadden says he's not concerned about their record there, and the game is about focusing on themselves and controlling what they can control.

The Warriors go into the match sitting ninth on the table after a second consecutive loss, and McFadden says it's an important game.

They're one of six teams on 22 points, headed by North Queensland in seventh spot with Brisbane eighth.

The 15th-placed Raiders have an impressive record at Canberra Stadium overall with a winning percentage of better than 67 percent but their 18-34 loss to South Sydney was their sixth in eight matches at the venue this year.


1. Sam Tomkins

2. Ngani Laumape

3. Konrad Hurrell

4. Dane Nielsen

5. Manu Vatuvei

6. Chad Townsend

7. Shaun Johnson

8. Jacob Lillyman

9. Nathan Friend

10. Suaia Matagi

11. Ben Henry

12. Simon Mannering (captain)

13. Sebastine Ikahihifo


14. Feleti Mateo

15. Ben Matulino

16. Sam Rapira

17. Thomas Leuluai

18. Tuimoala Lolohea

20. Sione Lousi