Vodafone Warriors head coach Matt Elliott welcomed hooker Nathan Friend back for today's NRL clash against North Queensland. Photo: Photosport.


Seasoned hooker Nathan Friend has been confirmed to make his return from shoulder surgery when the Vodafone Warriors face North Queensland in todays fourth-round NRL clash at Mount Smart Stadium (6.00pm kick-off; game day sponsor: Red Bull).


Friend needed two operations after dislocating his right shoulder late last season.


The 152-game veteran comes into the starting line-up with his stand-in Elijah Taylor moving to the interchange.


There are three other changes to the starting side named last Tuesday.

Winger Glen Fisiiahi remains on bereavement leave following his sisters funeral last week. Bill Tupou takes his place with debutant Ngani Laumape retained on the other wing after his impressive effort against Cronulla.


In the forwards, prop Ben Matulino and second rower Ben Henry move to the bench with Jacob Lillyman and Feleti Mateo coming into the starting line-up.


The Vodafone Warriors first appearance of the season at Mount Smart Stadium rounds off an Easter Monday festival of football. It started with the Auckland Vulcans taking on the Windsor Wolves in the New South Wales Cup followed by the NYC encounter between the Vodafone Junior Warriors and the Cowboys.


VODAFONE WARRIORS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS


Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

6.00pm, Monday, April 1

Referees: Gavin Badger and Henry Perenara


VODAFONE WARRIORS


1 KEVIN LOCKE

18 BILL TUPOU

3 DANE NIELSEN

4 KONRAD HURRELL

5 NGANI LAUMAPE

6 THOMAS LEULUAI

7 SHAUN JOHNSON

8 SAM RAPIRA

22 NATHAN FRIEND

14 JACON LILLYMAN

15 FELETI MATEO

12 SIMON MANNERING (c)

13 TODD LOWRIE

Interchange:

9 ELIJAH TAYLOR

10 BEN MATULINO

11 BEN HENRY

17 PITA GODINET


HEAD COACH: MATTHEW ELLIOTT