Album: Rd 17: Warriors vs Cowgirls - Friend and Fish are in!
Experienced hooker Nathan Friend returns right on schedule to bolster the Vodafone Warriors for their crucial 17th-round NRL Women in League clash against the North Queensland Cowboys at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday (4.00pm kick-off NZ time).<br /> Friend, out of action since breaking his jaw in the 30-20 win against Brisbane on May 05, provides a huge boost for a squad which has endured a steady stream of injuries throughout the campaign so far.<br /> Also coming back into the side from injury is Glen Fisiiahi, who has been named on the left wing after being out of contention for the 19-20 loss to Cronulla with a knee injury. With veteran Manu Vatuvei out for a month with a knee injury, Vodafone Junior Warrior Omar Slaimankhel made his NRL debut as a late replacement against the Sharks.<br /> Friend will be making his 145th career appearance, Fisiiahi just his ninth and his fifth this season.<br /> “It’s good timing to have Nathan back from his injury,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Brian McClennan.<br /> “We’ve certainly missed the experience he brings to the hooker’s role so he’ll really help us a lot there.<br /> “And with Manu out for a bit after his surgery and Glen fit again, it’s a big chance for him on the wing.”<br /> While Friend and Fisiiahi have been recalled, McClennan has also done some reshuffling among the forwards with Elijah Taylor switching back to the No 13 jersey and Lewis Brown – used at hooker against Cronulla – named as a starting second rower. A five-man bench has been listed comprising Jacob Lillyman, Micheal Luck, Sione Lousi, Feleti Mateo and Steve Rapira.<br /> Sunday’s clash (match day sponsor: SKYCITY) will have a real pink hue about it as the Vodafone Warriors mark the NRL’s Women in League initiative. The NRL team will be outfitted in a new pink-toned strip produced by Canterbury of New Zealand while Vodafone Warriors members and all other fans are urged to join the theme by wearing something pink on the day.<br /> With fifth-placed North Queensland sitting on 20 points the Vodafo