NRL 1 year ago

Vete gearing up for ultimate Storm test

  • Vete gearing up for ultimate Storm test

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 01: Albert Vete of the Warriors fends off Ricky Leutele of the Sharks (R) during the round 21 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Cronulla Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Warriors forward pack let their Newcastle opponents get their tails up last weekend, according to prop Albert Vete, but a similar showing against Melbourne Storm on Friday would invite a whole new world of hurt.

Vete made nine carries for 102 metres and 32 tackles as his side relied on a late Ryan Hoffman try to sneak home against the Knights.

After a slow start the Auckland-based side found their groove in the back end of the first half, scoring four unanswered tries.

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Yet the trademark Warriors flakiness again reared its ugly head as last year's NRL wooden-spooners almost took home the two points.

Vete and fellow front-rowers Charlie Gubb, Sam Lisone and Jacob Lillyman, as well as the crocked Ben Matulino, watched the tape back on Wednesday. It wasn't exactly pleasant viewing.

"There were definitely areas where we felt like we let them get their tails up," the Tongan international said.

"Especially in that second half when they started offloading the ball and getting quick play-the-balls.

"We felt we were responsible for those tries, letting the play-the-ball get too quick."

Life is unlikely to get any easier for Vete and his colleagues against a clinical Storm pack, even facorting in the loss of injured Kiwis skipper Jesse Bromwich.

Tim Glasby and Jordan McLean have been named to start as props on what is forecast to be a night of torrential rain and thunderstorms in Auckland.

Vete said the conditions would make the battle up front all the more important against a squad like Melbourne, adept at the wrestle.

"We're going to squeeze in and stay tight and make sure we're getting our bodies in front and winning the ruck," he said.

"That's going to take away one of their key players, (hooker) Cameron Smith."

Vete, a former rugby star at high school level, is off-contract with the Warriors at the end of 2017 and said he was still assessing his options.

But he was happy to keep working alongside propping partner Gubb, with whom he has started both NRL trial games in 2017 and Sunday's showdown.

The pair complemented each other well, he said.

"Charlie's pretty solid in defence and I like to carry the ball more so we balance each other out in that sense. We've got to drive the energy in the middle."


* The Warriors have not played a home Friday night match for five-and-a-half years, stretching back to Round 19, 2011. They have won their past five Friday night home games.

* The Warriors made good mileage in their 26-22 win over Newcastle last week, earning the equal third-most run metres (1604m) and equal-most line breaks, with eight.

* Melbourne won their 14th consecutive round one NRL match against the Bulldogs last weekend.


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