NRL: Warriors' Gerard Beale likely to miss crucial Panthers clash

The NZ Warriors are likely to be without centre Gerard Beale for their crucial encounter against the Penrith Panthers on Friday.

On Tuesday, the 28-year-old was named to start at Mt Smart, suggesting he'd overcome the hamstring strain that limited his impact during the loss to the Bulldogs.

But coach Stephen Kearney has confirmed that while returning forward Tohu Harris was shaping up well, the signs were less encouraging for Beale.

"He hasn't pulled up so good," said Kearney. "He still felt a bit sore after warm-up at training today.

"Tohu has pulled up fine and will be okay to go, but it's unlikely Gerard will be."

The Kiwis back has been one of the finds of the season for the resurgent Warriors and his loss is another significant blow, on the back of the injury-enforced absence of key playmaker Blake Green.

Peta Hiku would probably move from the bench to replace Beale in the run-on side.

Kearney added that Green had made "significant improvement" since he was forced from the field with a calf strain on Sunday, suggesting it may only be a short-term hiatus for the Australian.

While the loss of Green's leadership will be keenly felt, Kearney said they have "150 percent" confidence in replacement Mason Lino.

"He's done the job for us before. The boys will obviously be rallying around him to help him… he'll be fine."

A win over the Panthers would guarantee the Warriors their first NRL finals berth since 2011.

Of course, it's just another game for Kearney and his troops, and the focus is completely on performance.

"The reality is we've got to play well and I'm pretty confident we give ourselves a good opportunity if we do that this weekend,” he said.

"That's all that matters to us. Where that takes us is in our hands."

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