“Another year down the drain” – Jazz Tevaga’s comment to the New Zealand Herald this week when probed about where things might be going wrong.
After last week’s demoralising loss to the Sharks, the Warriors have little to play for other than to try and restore some faith with the fans as they head into the off-season.
- 40 – The Warriors conceded 40 points in back-to-back games in Australia for the first time in their history last week.
This week they take on yet another top eight side in the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who look to have recovered from a mid-season slump with a brilliant victory over the Broncos last week. Coach Wayne Bennett as ever the master of timing his teams run to the Grand Final.
This will be the 35th clash between these two sides, with the Warriors holding a slight lead over the Rabbitohs in terms of wins.
- 19 – The Warriors have won 19 of their 34 clashes against the Rabbitohs since 1995.
- 55% – The Warriors enjoy a 55% win ratio against the Rabbitohs, their second best against all other current NRL teams, trailing the 69% win ratio against the Titans.
- 1 – The Warriors have won just one of the last nine encounters in this fixture dating back to 2013, a 32-20 victory in Perth in 2018.
For the Rabbitohs, victory over the Warriors would add that extra bit of spice to what is already a fierce battle against their local rivals the Roosters in the final round.
- 3 – The Warriors have won just three of their nine games at Mt Smart Stadium this season.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has kept the axe in the shed, instead opting for a plastic mallet as he makes just two changes to last week’s heavily beaten side. Kodi Nikorima and Agnatius Paasi starting ahead of Chanel Harris-Tavita and Lachlan Burr. All eyes will be on Nikorima in particular to justify his mid-season signing from the Broncos as the spark has well and truly faded over the last month.
- 4 – Nikorima has four try assists this season from his 19 games this season, just one more than the man he has replaced, rookie Harris-Tavita who has three from his 12 games.
- 6 – Nikorima has never lost against the Rabbitohs, winning all six games against them whilst he was at the Broncos. He has also scored in his last two games against them.
- 26 – In comparison, the Rabbitohs halves pairing of Cody Walker (14) and Adam Reynolds (12) have 26 try assists between them this season.
- 100 – Agnatius Paasi will play in his 100th NRL game this week, having started out with the Warriors (45 games) in 2014 before returning in 2018, he has also played 54 games for the Titans between 2015-2017.
The Warriors have conceded 146 points already in August, and must rectify this if they are to stand any chance of claiming a win here.
- 26 – The Warriors have conceded 26 tries in August, equating to the 30% of the tries they have conceded in 2019.
- 20 – The Rabbitohs have scored 20 or more points in every game in this fixture since 2012, an average of 30 points per game.
The Rabbitohs have it all to play for as they try and secure a top four berth for the finals. Last time out against the Warriors the Rabbitohs got up by 4 points, thanks in large to three tries in 15 minutes and Cody Walker’s four-try haul. Since then he has made his Origin debut, before going off the boil somewhat.
- 14 – Walker is currently on 14 tries for the season, just four off the record for a five-eighth in a season. Currently held by Arthur McCabe, Trent Barrett and Ben Walker, each with 18.
With two games remaining for the Warriors in 2019, statistically Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is up across all facets of the 2018 metrics that helped him win the Dally M Player of the Year Award.
- 6 – He has scored six tries this season, twice the amount of 2018.
- 9 – He has nine try assists, and 13 line break so far in 2019, compared with eight and 13 for 2018.
- 96 – He has made 96 tackles this season, 30 more than last year whilst missing four less.
- 28 – He is running for 28 metres more per game on average in 2019.
He has constantly been a saviour for the Warriors this season, with some sub-human efforts in both attack and defence. He will again be the go-to-guy if the Warriors are to have any chance of a win this weekend.
Let’s not count out Sam Lisone as a smokey though – he is enjoying a purple patch for his standards against the Rabbitohs.
- 2 – Sam Lisone has scored just three tries in 85 NRL games, including two in his last two games against the Rabbitohs.
Pressure has been mounting on coach Stephen Kearney in the past month, with the lacklustre performances from his side doing nothing to invigorate hope for next season.
- 1 – Kearney has won just one of seven games in against the Rabbitohs in his coaching career with the Eels and Warriors.
- 40 – He now has the second most losses as a Warriors coach. He has lost 40 of his 71 games in charge (the third most games in charge).
- 6 – Of the 11 coaches in Warriors history, he currently sits sixth in terms of winning percentage.
This is the Warriors last home game for 2019. After starting so promisingly back in March, things went downhill fast culminating in a club record equalling record for losses at home. Here’s hoping they can sign off at Mt Smart for the season in style.
- 6 – The Warriors lost six straight games at Mt Smart Stadium between April and August, equalling the club record.
- 5 – The Warriors have won five of their final home games over the past 10 seasons.