DUNEDIN - Halfback Shaun Johnson has recovered from an elbow injury to be named for the New Zealand Warriors' season-opening NRL match against the Parramatta Eels.
Key playmaker Johnson hyperextended his right elbow during the Warriors' 16-10 trial win against Brisbane in Dunedin on February 23.
A conservative view was that the 22-year-old could be out for three-four weeks but coach Matthew Elliott was always optimistic Johnson would be ready to face the Eels in Sydney on Saturday.
He was smiling after naming his first NRL competition side since taking charge at the Auckland club.
As he did for the trial matches against Penrith in Hamilton and against the Broncos, Johnson will team up in the halves with veteran Thomas Leuluai.
It is more than eight years since Kiwis veteran Leuluai last played for the club, coincidentally making his final appearance against the Eels before embarking on a career in the UK Super League.
The starting line-up shows only one change from that used against Brisbane, with Glen Fisiiahi named on the right wing ahead of Bill Tupou.
Second-rower Ben Henry is on the interchange bench, returning after missing the Dunedin trial with an ankle injury while utility Pita Godinet is also included.
Making their first NRL appearances for the club will be the 2012 Melbourne grand final-winning duo of centre Dane Nielsen and back-rower Todd Lowrie.
Wellington prop Charlie Gubb is one of six named on the bench and could also make his debut.
Former Junior Warrior Gubb has impressed during his off-season trial, earning a fulltime contract for the 2013 season.
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (capt), Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Ben Henry, Jacob Lillyman, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Pita Godinet, Steve Rapira, Charlie Gubb. (two to be omitted)