Bye comes at a good time for Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bye comes at a good time for Warriors

By Robert Lowe 05/05/2008 07:47:17 PM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Warriors are expecting significant relief to their injury woes when they next step out in the NRL.

Down to their bare bones in terms of player availability, the Warriors kept their 100 per cent home record intact on Sunday with a 14-6 win over Canberra in atrocious conditions.

They have a bye next weekend and just two players called up for the Centenary Test in Sydney on Friday - Kiwis Lance Hohaia and Simon Mannering.

Coach Ivan Cleary was hopeful of having prop Ruben Wiki, centre Jerome Ropati and young second rower Sonny Fai all fit again by the time of the trip to Penrith the following week.

"We have quite a few guys not far away," he said.

"Any troops coming back will be a positive."

However, Cleary said it was unlikely that skipper Steve Price would have recovered from his hamstring tear in time to be available against the Panthers.

The result over Canberra in cold and wet Auckland weather lifted the Warriors one spot to 13th on the ladder, but with the same number of points as the eighth-placed Wests Tigers.

It also gave them a mirror-image balance sheet of four wins at home and four defeats on the road.

While the conditions at Mt Smart Stadium made it difficult for the players to serve up a spectacle, Cleary was just happy to get a victory.

"It was important to get a win and get through the first third of the year and into the bye with four and four," he said.

"We haven't played consistently all that well. You just have to keep racking up the wins the best you can and it was one of those games."

The lengthy casualty list meant Cleary gave 18-year-old Russell Packer his NRL debut and the prop showed his promise with some strong runs.

There was also an earlier than expected return from a neck injury for Patrick Ah Van, a late replacement for stand-in winger Aidan Kirk, who withdrew with a hamstring problem.

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