KEY PLAYER: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will captain the Warriors at Kawana.
KEY PLAYER: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will captain the Warriors at Kawana. MICK TSIKAS

Star to return from injury at NRL trial on Coast

RUGBY LEAGUE: NRL star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will make his long-awaited return from injury at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday, when he captains the New Zealand Warriors for the first time.

The 23-year-old fullback spent most of last year sidelined with a serious knee issue but is poised to make his comeback against the Melbourne Storm.

The Warriors will boast a highly-credentialed 23-man squad for the occasion, including excitement machine Shaun Johnson and hard-edged forward Ryan Hoffman.

"This trip to the Sunshine Coast is hugely significant in terms of our preparation for the NRL season,” Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney said.

"This is what we've been building towards since coming into camp in early November.

"It's a big chance for a lot of players from our Nines squad to show where they for the NRL season and it's also important for the others selected including Roger as he comes back from missing most of last season.

"One thing we do know is that the Storm will give us a real test. They always do.”

The squad also boasts Kiwi international David Fusitu'a and boom centre Solomone Kata but it's the impending appearance of Tuivasa-Sheck and Johnson that will excite those who are going to the game, which will be contested at a new-look facility.

The Bokarina ground now has hills on its eastern, northern and southern edges, along with its dominant grandstand on the western side.

The Warriors have played in a trial on the Sunshine Coast before, losing to Manly in 2008.

It last met the Storm in a pre-season game in Hamilton in 2009, winning 24-12.

But for Kearney, this clash should be a special occasion as he makes his debut as Warriors head coach against the club he played for and was assistant coach at.

The Warriors arrive on the Sunshine Coast on Friday, when they will train at the venue. They will also be involved in a signing session there.

The Storm is likely to reveal its team on Wednesday, when another star fullback could be welcomed back from injury.

Australia and Queensland representative Billy Slater has been training in earnest.

WARRIORS: R Tuivasa-Sheck (c), B Afoa, M Allwood, B Ayshford, J Bell, E Clark, D Fusitu'a, C Gubb, A Hingano, R Hoffman, S Johnson, S Kata, M Lino, Ta Lolohea, K Maumalo, O Ogden, I Papalii, J Pauga, P Sipley, T Sipley, L Soosemea, J Tevaga, A Vete,


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