Warriors may need another spine patch-up

Daniel Gilhooly
With the Warriors in need of another spine patch-up, Peta Hiku may their man

Peta Hiku's ability to patch up holes in the Warriors NRL spine is easing the anxiety for coach Stephen Kearney.

Doubt surrounds the availability of fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and halfback Mason Lino heading into Saturday's clash with an in-form South Sydney in Auckland.

Tuivasa-Sheck missed last week's 24-14 win over Parramatta while awaiting the arrival of his first child.

The wait goes on for the classy captain, leaving Hiku poised to once again fill the hole at fullback.

If so, Beale would probably start again at centre.

Adding to the backline puzzle is Lino, who has been named to start a third straight game at halfback ahead of the injured Shaun Johnson.

However a "leg strain" could sideline the diminutive Samoan international, leaving Kearney to consider Hiku, Beale or possibly Tohu Harris at five-eighth, with Blake Green switched to halfback.

Kearney was relieved to have flexibility at his fingertips, with Hiku a proven rescue man.

"That's Pet, he's your old style sort of footballer. He'd play in bare feet if he could," Kearney said.

"He did a pretty good job last week at fullback and I think he could handle it if it's required of him to go into that position in the halves."

Lino trained lightly with the team and a late-week call will be made.

Tuivasa-Sheck's situation remains an hour-by-hour proposition.

Veteran team-mate Adam Blair wryly noted the pressure on the skipper to play.

The Warriors' marketing team have dubbed the match "Party at Roger's", presumably with the aim to celebrate his parenthood.

"I'm sure he'll be there. He can get off the field at halftime or something if he has to go," Blair said.

The Warriors retained third place with their hot and cold effort against the Eels, an eighth win from 11.

It was a performance Kearney said would need to lift if they are to topple a fourth-placed Rabbitohs side who have won five of their last six.