Some standouts and letdowns, but all in all a very positive way to finish a disappointing 2019 season.
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (C): A so-so first half, but the skipper’s scintillating performance after the break should have attracted the three points and kept the Dally M Medal race interesting. Ran for a game-high 252 metres, great cover defence, busy in attack and handled three times before scoring the try of the season. Brilliant end to a difficult year under difficult circumstances. Certain to make history as the first player to win three straight Warriors Player of the Year gongs. 8
20 TAANE MILNE: Given the Warriors’ outside-back injury woes and the subpar fill-in displays of Beale, Ayshford and Pompey, it’s hard to believe Milne only got a run in the last round with nothing at stake. The former Dragon made his late call-up for a club debut count, racking up 123 metres on 13 carries and bending the line back on every charge. Farcically denied a second-half try by the Bunker, while he pulled off a bell-ringer on Hodgson. 7.5
#NRLRaidersWarriors Where was Taane Milne all season? The guy's a wrecking ball, had a great game and yet wasn't chosen ahead of Pompey and Aichford until the last game of the season. Coach has to go.
— Chris Scott (@ChrisScott10) September 7, 2019
The NRL just keeps delivering!
This time Taane Milne lays out Josh Hodgson!
📺Catch it live on Fox League NOW! pic.twitter.com/22JASPAYTk
— FOX LEAGUE (@FOXNRL) September 7, 2019
3 ADAM POMPEY: Ran strongly early on and muscled over for his second try in as many weeks, but was barely sighted thereafter and finished with just 58 running metres. Still his best NRL showing so far. 6
4 BLAKE AYSHFORD: Strong finish to a 174-game NRL career that saw him develop into one of the game’s more maligned players. Ran for 96 metres and did a fine job defensively on Jarrod Croker. 7
5 KEN MAUMALO: Typically industrious with 171 metres on 16 carries, but the ball didn’t go his way in an attacking position. Still, to end the year with 17 tries is a phenomenal achievement for a player who crossed just 14 times in 64 games prior to this season. 6.5
6 KODI NIKORIMA: Hardworking on defence with 22 tackles but was far too anonymous with the ball in his 100th NRL game. There’s no way to justify Nikorima being picked ahead of Chanel Harris-Tavita in the halves in 2020 based on that level of playmaking involvement – hopefully he’s more open to playing hooker by the time next season rolls around. 5.5
7 BLAKE GREEN: It’s been a tough year for the 2018 darling, but this was first-rate from Kakariki. Laid on the Warriors’ first try, scored the match-winner with a piece of individual brilliance, ran for 82 metres and kicked judiciously – the latter regularly a weakness for Green this year. 8
The Blake Green show and go – one of the best at it 💪🏻 https://t.co/ldS6TiM0OP
— sarah k (@sarahk_08) September 7, 2019
8 AGNATIUS PAASI: Went off for an HIA, made just six runs, came up with a poor marker read that led to a try and gave away two penalties. A 33-tackle contribution was the highlight of a below average afternoon for Iggy. 5
9 ISSAC LUKE: Nothing overly spectacular is what was almost certainly Bully’s last game for the Warriors, but was energetic and finished with 63 metres and 29 tackles. Quality performance capped with four goals from as many attempts from the club’s most-capped hooker. 7
Have loved our time here with the @NZWarriors
The club isn’t far from doing some great things. from me and my family we thank NZ and the Warrios for giving us a chance. Things didn’t work out but a lot of lessons learnt. Wishing the club all the best. Ka aroha tino nui. #bully pic.twitter.com/FaH2aobEzD
— issac luke (@issacluke_14) September 7, 2019
10 LEESON AH MAU: Another tradesmanlike effort with 10 carries for 83 metres and 26 tackles with one miss. Solid enough but unmemorable. 6
11 ADAM BLAIR: One of the troublesome Blair’s more enterprising performances in a Warriors jumper, running for 97 metres on 13 carries (second-most among Warriors forwards) and making 29 tackles (though he came up with a bad miss on Josh Papalii), as well as popping three offloads and playing a key hand in the try of the season. 7
12 ISAIAH PAPALI’I: Raw stats were OK – 11 runs for 78 metres and 32 tackles – but there were several elements on show underlining why he is the new pet target of disgruntled Warriors fans. Pinged for two penalties, came up with a woeful defensive read as Hodgson scored and put boot to ball with an overlap beckoning. 5
There’s josh papalii then there’s Isaiah papalii
— I am (@Daniuean) September 7, 2019
13 JAZZ TEVAGA: The Warriors’ busiest forward with 146 metres on 13 carries and a team-high 41 tackles – and did all that in just 55 minutes on the field. Regularly tested and poked his nose through the Raiders’ defensive line. The one forward you would definitely keep. 7.5
14 LACHLAN BURR: Ran a great line to score the Warriors’ first try – his maiden four-pointer for the club – and chalked up 78 metres and 33 tackles during 46 minutes on the park. Strong end to a good campaign from the bargain buy. 7
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) September 7, 2019
16 LIGI SAO: Afforded 30 minutes in his last game before heading to Super League and had some eye-catching touches on attack, running for 86 metres from nine carries. Didn’t realise his potential at the Warriors but finished the season in decent form. 6
17 ADAM KEIGHRAN: Very handy 22-minute contribution off the bench at hooker, making four searching runs and 13 tackles without a miss. Seems to possess a good football brain, knows when to run from dummy-half and is great at keeping the ball alive and seeking out opportunities. Could be a spot for him in a full-strength 17 next year. 7
18 JOSH CURRAN: Another to get a late call-up, Curran again impressed with his boisterous ball-running in his second NRL outing for the Warriors, notching seven runs for 79 metres. Defence was greatly improved from his club debut, making 20 tackles without a miss. 7