NRL: Warriors playmaker Blake Green expected to be fit for round one

Warriors assistant coach Stacey Jones has downplayed a hamstring injury to key playmaker Blake Green, five weeks out from the NRL season opener against Canterbury Bulldogs.

On Wednesday, Nine's Wide World of Sports reported the 32-year-old would likely miss the Warriors' two pre-season fixtures against the Melbourne Storm (February 22) and Wests Tigers (March 2), and the Australian would be touch-and-go for the start of the season.

The veteran stand-off is crucial to the club's success this season following Shaun Johnson's abrupt departure, while last year's back-up, Mason Lino, has gone to the Newcastle Knights.

Green is the only halves player contracted to the club with NRL experience, with recruit Adam Keighran, along with Warriors juniors Chanel Harris-Tavita and Hayze Perham all yet to play at NRL level.

Despite the injury scare, Jones says the club is wrapping Green in cotton wool to ensure he can play the round one clash against the Bulldogs at Mount Smart on March 16.

"It's precautionary," said Jones. "When players his age go through the pre-season drag, it is tough on their bodies, so when they pull up tight in certain areas, you have to give them rest.

"When you have a key player that is not involved in training, you have to throw someone in there and it gives an opportunity to the other young halves to step up, but Greeny will be fine.

Adam Keighran.
Adam Keighran. Photo credit: Photosport

"You have to prepare for everything. Last year, when we had key players out, we had players to come do their job, so the same thing will happen this season - we will have players ready to go."

Green played 22 games for the Warriors in 2018 and was a key contributor in their return to the finals for the first time since 2011.

Coach Stephen Kearney was expected to rest Green for the first trial against the Storm, but hoped he'd play against the Tigers in Whangarei.

Keighran has widely been tipped as the man to start alongside Green in round one.

The 21-year-old arrived at the Warriors in October, signed from the Penrith Panthers on a two-year deal.

He's proven himself in reserve grade, after being named - at centre - in the ISP Team of the Year.

But his natural position is in the halves, having slotted in at five-eighth to help the Panthers reserves win the minor premiership.

The 21-year-old is a proven left-footed goalkicker and finished last season as the competition's top scorer, with 202 points (10 tries, 81 goals) in 23 games.

Harris-Tavita, 19, has climbed through the Warriors ranks. He was the club's NYC Rookie of the Year in 2016 and then NYC Player of the Year in 2017, along with NZRL Junior Player of the Year.

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