Warrior ready to take on Panthers

Lance Hohaia is recovering from a groin strain and will not be used if he has not recovered sufficiently by the weekend to ensure he can also back up against the Canterbury Bulldogs in Wellington on Friday, May 2.

The short turnaround between the two matches also puts Logan Swann in doubt. He wrenched a shoulder in making some heavy hits on various Cowboys on Sunday.

He "could play at a scratch," coach Daniel Anderson said.

Scratchy they might have been against North Queensland, but after reviewing the tape Anderson was still not unhappy with the performance. "They picked the ball up off the ground three times and scored from long range. I don't think there's anything seriously wrong with our defensive patterns."

There were no changes to the side other than those injury-enforced adjustments. It's a period of stability that the Warriors have rarely enjoyed.

Richard Villasanti will add competition to the mix next week and Ali Lauiti'iti's return remains on schedule. The star second-rower is into cardio work so he's ready to resume contact training as soon as possible.

Penrith beat the Warriors in Invercargill in a pre-season match in which Anderson used plenty of interchange.

They would gain some confidence from that in terms of believing they know where to penetrate, Anderson said. And any team who could beat reigning premiers the Roosters had to be taken seriously. They are the only side to have done so this year.

Kiwi second-rower Tony Puletua was the star in the Panthers' 16-14 win over Souths at the weekend, which gave them a two-from-five record so far.

Warriors skipper Monty Betham has been charged at late notice by the NRL judiciary.

Betham will be available to play Penrith this weekend if he chooses to take an early guilty plea, but will miss the match with suspension if he contests the charge and loses at the judiciary tonight.

Teams for Sunday's game:

New Zealand Warriors: Motu Tony, Henry Fa'afili, John Carlaw, Clinton Toopi, Francis Meli, Lance Hohaia, Stacey Jones, Jerry Seuseu, P. J. Marsh, Mark Tookey, Wairangi Koopu, Awen Guttenbeil, Monty Betham (capt); interchange, Sione Faumuina, Iafeta Palea'aesina, Brent Webb, Vinnie Anderson, Evarn Tuimavave (two to be omitted).

Penrith Panthers: Rhys Wesser, Brett Howland, Luke Lewis, Paul Whatuira, Luke Rooney, Preston Campbell, Craig Gower (capt), Colin Ward, Luke Priddis, Ben Ross, Tony Puletua, Joe Galuvao, Scott Sattler; interchange, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Roarty, Shane Rodney, Luke Swain.

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