NRL 3 years ago

Warriors Player Ratings Round 1

  • Warriors Player Ratings Round 1

The Warriors’ opening-round hoodoo continued in a 24-14 loss to Newcastle at Hunter Stadium – their six straight Round 1 defeat. Leading 14-6 at the end of a rugged first half, the Warriors imploded after the break despite the early sin-binning of Knights prop David Fa’alogo, kept scoreless in the second 40 as the home side launched a rousing comeback. Late withdrawals and a major backline reshuffle hampered the Warriors cause, but there’s little question it was a crucial two points they gifted to their opposition.

 

2.Tuimoala Lolohea: Pitched into the fullback role late in the week, Lolohea’s performance was a real highlight. Made a sizzling line-break among 204 metres from 18 runs, but had difficulty chiming into the backline at the other end, which is where the Warriors sorely missed Sam Tomkins. 7.5

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4.Solomone Kata: Retrenched from left centre to right wing, Kata gets a pass mark for his much-hyped debut. Ran for 118 metres in 12 carries, but a poor handling error blotted his performance somewhat. 6

3.Konrad Hurrell: After some powerful early charges, Hurrell left the field injured and did not have his usual impact after returning, coming up with a pair of handling errors. Embarrassed by Tyler Randell as the diminutive utility powered through Hurrell to score from dummy-half. 5

15.Ben Henry: The utility is a tremendous asset for the Warriors, but Henry proved once again he is too slow to play centre. Struggled to contain Dane Gagai all day and made just 37 metres in seven runs while failing to feed his winger in a Dane Nielsen-like display in attack. 5

5.Manu Vatuvei: Superb despite being outshone by opposite Akuila Uate, Vatuvei chalked up 155 metres from 14 runs and made a long bust in the first half. Reliable under the high ball and a workhorse coming off the Warriors’ line. 7

6.Chad Townsend: A trademark mixed bag from the erratic Townsend, flitting between brilliant and bumbling throughout – often on consecutive rucks. A 40/20 and a line-break were offset by a kick out on the full, poor options and clunky ball-playing. It seems only a matter of time before Lolohea gets a run in the No.6. 5.5

7.Shaun Johnson: Extremely disappointing from the most talked about player of the summer. A couple of brilliant touches were buried under a lack of direction and three errors – the Warriors needed him to take control but instead Townsend touched the ball far more often inside the Knights’ 20. Clearly missed his right-side companion Sam Tomkins. Outplayed by opposite Tyrone Roberts, Johnson’s performance was the antithesis of the commanding Four Nations displays that have most (including me) predicting a watershed season of consistent dominance from the No.7 wizard. 5

8.Jacob Lillyman: Understated display for the ever-reliable ‘Bull’, making just 18 tackles 67 metres from a meagre eight hit-ups. 6

9.Thomas Leuluai: Great determination to score the Warriors’ first try and dangerous around the rucks. Did enough to start again next week. 6.5

10.Ben Matulino: Dynamic and industrious from ‘Big Ben’, chalking up 154 metres form 15 runs and 28 tackles. Dangerous running on the fringes and always looking to create second-phase play. 7

11.Bodene Thompson: Strong first-up effort in a Warriors jumper, racking up 38 tackles and 13 runs. His combination running off Johnson on the right edge looks set to be a fruitful one. 7

12.Ryan Hoffman: The Warriors got everything they were hoping for and more from the representative backrower in his club debut. Powered over for a try on halftime and made another line-break during the second stanza, producing a string of tough runs among 15 carries for 114 metres. As usual with Hoffman, the stats did not truly reflect his impact or value. 8.5

13.Simon Mannering: Titanic effort in defence from the skipper, who spent most of the first half at centre in Hurrell’s stead – where he contained Joey Leilua superbly – making a team-high 51 tackles (no misses). Did not have his usual impact with the ball (nine runs for 50 metres) and may take time to adjust to his role in the middle of the park. 7

INTERCHANGE

14.Nathan Friend: Dependable in defence (18 tackles) and ran enthusiastically from dummy-half. Solid from the evergreen rake. 6.5

16.Sam Lisone: Eye-catching debut from the boom front-rower, standing up to the Knights’ experienced forwards and making 27 tackles and 11 hit-ups. Should be in first grade to stay. 7

17.Albert Vete: Huge effort from another debutant, taking a game-high 19 hit-ups and showing plenty of aggression. Became preoccupied with the niggle, however, costing the Warriors a couple of crucial penalties. A work in progress but an exciting prospect. 6.5

18.Suaia Matagi: Strong performance after a late call-up, making 12 tackles and nine hit-ups – including a couple of restart returns that were reminiscent of his stellar rookie campaign. 6

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