TWL WARRIORS ROUND 9 PLAYER RATINGS

Lofty numbers for some herculean individual displays in the Warriors’ classic 26-18 win over the Dragons.

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c): A constant threat, despite the Dragons’ best efforts to limit his involvement. Looked the Warriors’ most likely attacker in the first half but it was his passing game that came to the fore after the break, having a crucial hand in two tries. Ran for a game-high 191 metres and 61 post-contact metres, made a line-break and led magnificently. 8.5

2 DAVID FUSITU’A: Good return from ‘Fus’, who has been below his best in 2019. Took some really tough carries among 15 runs for 115 metres, was safe as houses at the back and crossed for a try. 7

3 PETA HIKU: At his silky-smooth best in attack, scoring two tries and running for 120 metres, as well as producing a slick try-assist. Not too bad on defence, either. One of his better outings at centre for the club. 7.5

4 PATRICK HERBERT: Unhappy first half that included bad decisions on both sides of the ball. But bounced back after the break with brilliant hands for Fusitu’a’s try, while his goalkicking was vital. Only made 20 metres, so a bit of a learning curve night overall for The Herb. 6

5 KEN MAUMALO: WOW! Arguably Big Ken’s best all-round game in the NRL. Ran for a customary 156 metres on 15 carries – constantly relieving the Warriors as they trudged out of their own end – but also came up with three huge defensive plays including an early try-saver, produced a slick kick-and-chase effort to force a line dropout, and crossed for the go-ahead try. Now that he’s putting up four-pointers on the reg (an equal-career-high seven from just nine games), Maumalo can genuinely lay claim to being one of the competition’s best wingers. 9

6 KODI NIKORIMA: Classy club debut from the NRL’s most talked-about player of the past fortnight. Revelled in not having the No.7 on his back, injecting himself as necessary on attack and not overplaying his hand. Laid on both of Hiku’s try, with his extra yard of pace making a massive difference to the Warriors’ offence, while it was also good to see him bob up on both sides of the field. Would be great to see him take on some of the kicking responsibilities – he is better in that department than most give him credit for. 8

7 BLAKE GREEN: We had “a second straight howler” pencilled in after 60 minutes or so. Dire kicking game, errors, stilted attack – it was a real muddle from one of the NRL’s most reliable performers, who was also poor last week against the Knights. But was important to the Warriors’ late charge, pointing the offence in the right direction with involvements in their last two tries. Combination with Nikorima looks a winner. 5.5

8 AGNATIUS PAASI: Barged over for the Warriors’ only try of the first half in a strong opening stint, but ultimately had only 10 runs for 64 metres and 25 tackles with a team-high seven misses. 6

9 NATHANIEL ROACHE: Bit of a mix early with a nice hand in Paasi’s try before being steamrolled as opposite number McInnes scored. But generally looked solid, making a big second-half line-break and finishing with 32 tackles. Went off late with a back complaint – a potentially tragic recurrence after missing all of 2018 with an injury to that part of his chiselled-but-unreliable body. Was called Daniel Roache by co-commentator extraordinaire Braith Anasta. 7

10 LEESON AH MAU: Rock-solid against his old club, leading the Warriors’ forwards with 117 metres on 12 carries and racking up 25 tackles with no misses. Won’t ever be the marquee prop the Warriors’ need, but will always do his job. 7

11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I: Topped the tackle count with 41 and was a real handful for the Dragons’ defence. Peach of an offload almost produced a first-half try for RTS. Arguably his most encouraging outing of 2019. 7

12 TOHU HARRIS: Great battle with Australian Test back-rower Tyson Frizell on the edge, ultimately coming out on top. Harris was the Warriors’ busiest attacking forward and finished with 116 metres, while he delivered a special pass to lay on Hiku’s match-sealer. Outstanding in every facet. 8

13 LACHLAN BURR: Solid but unspectacular in 50 minutes on the park, shelving his second-phase play but toiling for 10 runs and 26 tackles. Stronger during the second half. 6

 

14 JAZZ TEVAGA: Wonderful to see his 44 minutes consist solely playing as a middle forward, where he added real energy in the first half and was possibly denied a try by a dud held call. Grafted for 96 metres and 16 tackles in a quality outing. 7

15 BUNTY AFOA: Returned in excellent fashion with 91 metres and 22 tackles in 42 minutes, while he popped up in attack several times to suggest he is more than just a straight-ahead customer. 7

16 LIGI SAO: There will be calls to leave Ligi in the 17 at Adam Blair’s expense after undoubtedly his most effective first-grade display in a Warriors jumper. Ran for 83 metres from 10 carries and made 16 tackles without a miss, but the standout feature was his four offloads – two of them absolute beauties. Very impressive. 7.5

17 KARL LAWTON: No player had more of a per-minute influence on the game than the former Gold Coast utility. Played just 20 minutes but was instrumental to the win, destroying the Dragons out of dummy-half with 90 metres from five runs – including a searing line-break in the lead-up to the match-sealing try. Roache’s injury may open the door for a tantalising Luke-Lawton double act. Love his energy and enthusiasm. 8

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