Issac Luke during a Vodafone Warriors training session. NRL Rugby League. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 28 June 2016. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Issac Luke returns for his first match in a month to start at hooker in the Vodafone Warriors’ crucial 25th-round NRL encounter with Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium today (4.00pm kick-off).

Luke last played in the club’s 20-16 golden point win over Penrith on July 30.

He needed arthroscopic surgery for a knee complaint which was projected to keep out until the final regular season match against Parramatta next Sunday.

However, after missing the outings against Gold Coast, South Sydney and North Queensland he’s back a week earlier for a contest the Vodafone Warriors must win to keep their hopes alive of playing finals football for the first time in five years.

He comes in for Nathaniel Roache, who turned out for the club’s Intrust Super Premiership sider against Penrith today.

The Vodafone Warriors's campaign was rekindled when the eighth-placed Gold Coast (27 points) lost 14-15 to Penrith last night.

The ninth-placed Vodafone Warriors can still make the top eight but will need some help. Their task is to beat the Tigers today, count on North Queensland to topple the Titans next Saturday night and then account for the Eels on Father’s Day.

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

4.00pm, Sunday, August 28

Referees: Gerard Sutton and Alan Shortall

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 DAVID FUSITU’A

2 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA

3 BLAKE AYSHFORD

4 SOLOMONE KATA

5 MANU VATUVEI

6 THOMAS LEULUAI

7 SHAUN JOHNSON

8 JACOB LILLYMAN

20 ISSAC LUKE

10 ALBERT VETE

11 BODENE THOMPSON

12 RYAN HOFFMAN (c)

13 SIMON MANNERING

Interchange:

14 ATA HINGANO

15 SAM LISONE

16 BEN MATULINO

17 JAMES GAVET

HEAD COACH | ANDREW McFADDEN