Packer and Tuimavave cleared to return

Vodafone Warriors prop Russell Packer and utility Carlos Tuimavave (pictured) are both available to make their returns from injury lay-offs this weekend. Photo: Photosport.


Packer has been sidelined with a bicep injury picked up during the offseason while Tuimavave hasnt been able to play since breaking his hand in the clubs final NRL trial against Brisbane in Dunedin on February 23.


Vodafone Warriors team doctor John Mayhew said both had now been cleared to take the field again, joining veteran NRL players Nathan Friend (shoulder) and Jerome Ropati (knee) who came through their comeback matches unscathed yesterday. Ropati played all but a few minutes of the Auckland Vulcans 24-24 draw with Windsor in the New South Wales Cup while Friend was on the field for 67 minutes in total in the Vodafone Warriors 20-18 NRL win over North Queensland.


Also back in contention is winger Glen Fisiiahi, who has been on bereavement leave the last two games.


Mayhew said winger Manu Vatuvei could be another week away from coming back from ankle and knee complaints which forced him off the field just 18 minutes into the season-opening clash against Parramatta on March 9.


Meanwhile, there are question marks over the availability of centre Dane Nielsen, Kevin Locke and Ben Henry for the fifth-round match against South Sydney at Mount Smart Stadium this Sunday (4.00pm kick-off).


A rib complaint ended Nielsens fourth appearance of the season at halftime against the Cowboys yesterday. Fullback Locke and second rower/centre Henry were unable to finish the match after suffering head knocks.


Mayhew said all three will be monitored during the week.


Other injured players and their likely return dates are:


Manu Vatuvei (ankle/knee) Round 6

Sione Lousi (knee) out for season

Dominique Peyroux (jaw) Round 11-12

Alehana Mara (ankle) Round 6-7

Steve Rapira (ear surgery) Round 7

Sam Lousi (foot) Round 10

Charlie Gubb (jaw) Round 8-9