NRL: Tohu Harris ready to lead Warriors' finals charge

Warriors forward Tohu Harris is ready to help lead the Warriors playoff push, after overcoming two separate knee injuries.

Harris last played for the Warriors in their 18-15 loss to the Sharks in June, where he tore his meniscus in his right knee. He was set to return against the Dragons earlier this month, but suffered a left-knee injury during training and returned home for 'minor surgery'.

But the New Zealand international is fit again and has been named on the bench for Friday's crucial clash against the Penrith Panthers in Auckland.

Harris' experience will be vital if the Warriors are to qualify for the playoffs and make a deep run, as he was a part of last year’s championships-winning Melbourne Storm side.

The last two months have been about rehab and recovery for Harris, and now he's excited to get out on the field and play some footy.

"There's nothing I could do about it,” said Harris. “I just had to make sure I get it right before I come back.

"I just have to make sure my legs are as strong and stable as possible, have it as part of my weekly routine and get on with it.

"It is always hard to watch, not being out on the field competing with everyone. It has been tough at times, but I've had to focus on rehabbing and getting back as early as possible."

Victory over the Panthers would guarantee a first playoff appearance for seven years for the Warriors, while a loss could leave their fate resting on the result of a final-round showdown with Canberra.

But if the ninth-placed Wests Tigers lose to Manly on Thursday, that will hand the Kiwi club a ticket to the post-season.

Tohu Harris at Warriors training.
Tohu Harris at Warriors training. Photo credit: Photosport

They had a chance to qualify on last Sunday, but a late Lachlan Lewis field goal delayed the Warriors celebrations for another week at least.

"We can't control results,” said Harris. “We can only control how we turn up and I think that's been the most frustrating part - that we haven't turned up with the right attitude and right effort at certain times.

"Teams in this competition, if you give them an inch, they'll tear you apart, so we just have to make sure that we cross those T's and work hard."

Before getting injured, Harris had been one of the Warriors best, forming a lethal right-edge combination with Peta Hiku and David Fusitu'a on his outside.

Even though Harris has been named on the bench, coach Stephen Kearney isn't ruling out starting the 131-game veteran.

"We'll see what we think is going to best work for him and the team, but there could be an opportunity for T [Tohu] to start,” said Kearney. “We'll just how it pans out over the next couple of days.

"If it's a real arm wrestle, then that is quite taxing energy-wise, but Tohu is a pretty experienced campaigner.

"He hasn't played in seven weeks and it's a big physical team we're playing against, so he might need a spell at some point. I'll rely on T to give me that call."

The fifth-placed Panthers have won eight of their last 10 games against the Warriors.


Catch all the action live from Warriors vs Panthers with Newshub sport from 7:30pm, Friday.