Warriors wing Patrick Herbert holds son for first time in 23 days, Chanel Harris-Tavita dropped to bench

Warriors winger Patrick Herbert has been handed the ultimate motivation ahead of Saturday's season restart against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

For the first time since the Warriors left Auckland on a chartered flight bound for Tamworth on May 3, Herbert has been able to hold his three-month-old son True.

Herbert flew home from Australia following the Warriors first-round loss to the Newcastle Knights to be with partner Kirri who had recently given birth to their son.

He missed the round two loss to the Canberra Raiders to beat the border closures to regain entry into New Zealand.

On Monday night the trio was able to reunite as a family when Kirri and True were able to visit and spend the night at the Warriors Gosford base.

"I'm one of the lucky ones. My partner flew over when we flew over. She's done her isolation and she came to visit yesterday," Herbert said on Tuesday.

Herbert's good fortune has continued with him being named to start on the wing for Saturday's clash with the Dragons.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has made a string of both forced and unforced changes for the first game in three months because of the Covid-19 shutdown with the biggest talking point being Kodi Nikorima being preferred to Chanel Harris-Tavita in the halves.

Harris-Tavita has been named on an extended bench.

Gerard Beale returns from a long injury layoff to start in the centres with Pita Hiku - who also headed back to Auckland following the Newcastle game because his partner was expecting.

Beale has not played since he fractured the patella in his left knee following a collision with fellow Kiwis international Jared Waerea-Hargreaves when playing against the Roosters in Sydney last August.

David Fusitu'a who is in Australia, but was never a chance to play in round three because of his late arrival due to personal reasons, has not been named. He started at centre against the Raiders alongside the now injured Adam Keighran.

Kearney has resisted the urge to throw new signing Jack Murchie straight in with the former Raiders forward named on the extended bench.

Hooker Nathaniel Roache was not considered as he continues to work towards a return to full fitness from a long term knee injury suffered last season.

The arrival of Herbert's family was the first time anyone in the Warriors travelling party of staff and players has been able to welcome family members into camp.

"He's done a lot for three months, I think he's lived half his life in isolation," Herbert said.

But for Herbert, being reunited with family did add a new dynamic to what was meant to be a late start for the Warriors on Tuesday.

"It was meant to be our sleep-in today and I was up at six o'clock."

Kirri and True flew to Australia just after the Warriors headed back across the Tasman and spent their isolation in Wollongong.