Micheal Luck will end a frustrating 258-day wait between games when he makes his much-anticipated return in the Warriors' 15th-round NRL clash against Cronulla at Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
The 220-game veteran was today named on the bench in another fillip for the Warriors just hours after their confidence-boosting 30-16 win over Penrith last night, only their second success on the road this season.
However, while there was positive news for Luck at last, there was another injury setback with hooker Alehana Mara ruled out for six to eight weeks after x-rays last night revealed he had broken his right fibula in the opening minutes of the match.
Mara played on for a few minutes before utility Lewis Brown came on to take over in the dummy half role for the last 62 minutes of the match.
Head coach Brian McClennan today named Brown to start at hooker against the Sharks with first-choice Nathan Friend still not available after breaking his jaw against Brisbane on May 5.
Luck, who hasn't played since the club's NRL grand final encounter with Manly on October 2 last year, was elated about being able to return for his 145th game for the club.
"It's such a relief to be able to get out on the field after all this time," he said.
"The last few months have been hugely frustrating so just being back in full training with the boys has been exciting and to now have the chance at last to play again couldn't be better. I can't wait for Saturday night."
McClennan said Luck's dedication in his recovery had been exemplary.
"It's a thrill for all of us knowing Lucky's getting back on the field at last. He's worked so hard for this chance after all the frustration he's been through," he said.
Luck has had four operations since last October, after suffering a string of serious injuries
He was initially booked in for post-season surgery to repair a severely damaged finger and also had another operation at the same time when it was discovered he'd broken his wrist in the grand final.
More surgery was needed right before Christmas after he aggravated a shoulder complaint which had troubled him for the best part of two seasons.
While he was recovering from that, he suffered yet another setback in February when it was revealed his left wrist hadn't healed properly, forcing him back into the operating theatre for a bone graft operation and a severely delayed start to his year.
The 2012 NRL season is Luck's last at the Club, with a move to Queensland imminent after seven years at the club.