Take a deep dive with TWL into the numbers that mattered, the key stats and the quirky trivia that made up the Warriors’ unforgettable 2020 campaign.
FOR AND AGAINST
The Warriors finished with a for-and-against of -115 – better than just six other seasons in the club’s history, despite playing only 20 games.
The Warriors ranked 14th in the NRL for points scored and ninth for points conceded.
The Warriors scored 343 points at 17.15 per game – the third-lowest points-per-game rate in the club’s 26 seasons.
The Warriors conceded 458 points at 22.90 per game, an improvement on 2019 (574 points at 23.92) but only the 14th-best in the club’s history.
Five of the Warriors’ seven losses over the first 10 rounds came by margins of 20 points or more. But the biggest margin in their five losses across the last 10 rounds was just 12 points (including four by eight or less). It represented the first time since 2012 the Warriors have gone 10 matches without losing by a 13-plus margin.
The highest score the Warriors conceded over the last 10 rounds was 28, against Manly in their last fixture. It was the first time since 2012 – and only the fifth time in the club’s history – the Warriors have gone 10 matches without conceding 30-plus points.
The Warriors’ 50-6 loss to Melbourne was their equal-seventh-worst since coming into the competition in 1995. It was also their equal-most points conceded since their club record 68-6 loss to Penrith in 2013.
The Warriors’ 40 points in the final round against Manly was their equal-highest since Round 14 of the 2016 season. The 40-28 result represented the equal-13th-most total points in any Warriors game. Meanwhile, the total of 14 tries was just one off the record for a game involving the Warriors, behind only the 15 scored in their 60-16 thrashing of Western Suburbs.
The 18-0 shutout of St George Illawarra in Round 3 was the equal-ninth lowest-scoring game in Warriors history.
The Warriors finished 10th in 2020, the third time the club has landed in that position (1995 and 2016 were the others). The Warriors finished 11th or lower in 12 of their previous 25 seasons and only twice finished better than 10th in the previous eight campaigns.
The Warriors were last after their 20-0 opening-round loss to Newcastle but sat above 16th spot for the rest of the season. It was just the 26th week the Warriors, who have never collected a wooden spoon, finished a round at the bottom of the ladder.
The Warriors spent four weeks in 13th place during 2020, the most common ladder position in their history (84 of 649 rounds).
The Warriors conceded 84 tries at 4.20 per game. This was down on 2019 (95 tries at 3.96 per game) but still better than seven previous campaigns in club history, though still the sixth-worst in the NRL in 2020.
Tohu Harris ranked ninth in the NRL (sixth among non-hookers) for most tackles with 845 from 20 games. His per game average of 42.3 placed him 13th in the competition.
Jazz Tevaga (33.4 tackles per game) was the only other Warriors player in the NRL’s top 50. He ranked 50th.
Peta Hiku topped the Warriors’ missed tackle count with 61 (ninth in the NRL), just ahead of Kodi Nikorima’s 59 (12th).
Hiku (3.4), Nikorima (3.1), Chanel Harris-Tavita (3.1) and Tevaga (2.7) were all in the NRL’s top 50 for average missed tackles per game.
RUNS AND METRES
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck placed sixth in the NRL for most runs (398) and third for average runs per game (22.1). RTS racked up 3,974 running metres, the most in the regular season and still fifth overall after finals; his averaged of 220.8 metres per game was behind only James Tedesco (231.7).
Tohu Harris was 12th in the competition for most runs (352) and 20th for average runs per game (17.6). He was fourth and third respectively in both departments among the NRL’s forwards. Harris also tallied 3,465 metres at 173.3 per game, 11th and 16th in the NRL respectively (third and fourth among forwards).
Ken Maumalo averaged 18.8 runs and 188 metres per game in his eight appearances – 14th and seventh in the NRL respectively.
Harris and Tuivasa-Sheck also dominated the post-contact metres stakes. Harris was ninth for total post-contact metres (1,339) and 12th for average post-contact metres (66.9), while RTS was 11th for total post-contact metres (1,302) and fifth for average post-contact metres (72.3).
Maumalo (66.4) and Jazz Tevaga (58.9) also figured in the NRL’s top 25 for average post-contact metres.
Tevaga (135), Peta Hiku (122), Adam Pompey (108), Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (95) and Kodi Nikorima (73) were other notable performers in the average run metres category.
Nikorima (12th in the NRL with 87), Tuivasa-Sheck (35th with 44) and Harris (40th with 39) engaged the defensive line more than any other Warriors.
The indefatigable Harris also landed 13th in the NRL’s ‘Player in Support’ stats category (fourth among forwards) with 177.
The Warriors scored 61 tries at 3.05 per game, fractionally better than last season (72 at 3.00 per game). But it was still the fourth-worst tries-per-game rate in the club’s 26 seasons and ranked 14th in the NRL.
The Warriors made the seventh-most tackles per game of any team, averaging 357.1. They had the fourth-worst missed tackle rate in the NRL, averaging 30.5.
Peta Hiku led the Warriors’ tryscoring charts with eight in 18 games – the lowest top try-scorer figure in the club’s history (and before you point to the shortened season, it was also the lowest strike-rate for a Warriors season tryscoring leader). Patrick Herbert, with seven from 13 games, was second for the Warriors in 2020.
Rookie second-rower Eliesa Katoa (six from 13 games) was third on the Warriors’ try charts – and behind only Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (seven from 22 games) and Viliame Kikau (seven from 19 games) among the NRL’s forwards.
Hiku achieved the second hat-trick of his career (he scored four for Manly against Canberra in 2014), crossing three times against North Queensland in Round 5. Adam Keighran bagged a treble against Manly in Round 19 – the first of his career in just his ninth NRL game.
David Fusitu’a’s solitary try, the 61st of his career, before heading back to Auckland mid-season took him to outright fifth on the Warriors’ all-time tryscoring leaderboard. He is just two tries behind third-placed pair Shaun Johnson and Simon Mannering. After scoring a club-record-equalling 23 tries in as many games in 2018, ‘Fus’ crossed just six times in 23 outings in 2019-20.
Ken Maumalo’s five tries in eight games took his career tally to 36. After scoring just 14 tries in the first 64 games of his NRL career, Big Ken has bagged 22 tries in 31 games over the past two seasons.
— NRL (@NRL) July 31, 2020
LINE-BREAKS AND TACKLE-BREAKS
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Adam Pompey topped the Warriors’ 2020 line-break count with eight each.
Pompey’s came in just 13 appearances, giving him a handy average of 0.6 per game. He made three in the Warriors’ win over the Knights in Tamworth.
Tuivasa-Sheck’s eight line-breaks all come in his last 11 games, including six in the last five.
RTS ranked sixth in the NRL for tackle-breaks with 84 in 18 games. He was 11th in the competition for average tackle-breaks (4.7) while Ken Maumalo was 14th (4.1). Tuivasa-Sheck had a season-high 11 tackle-breaks against the Titans in Round 9, while Maumalo chalked up 10 in his barnstorming display against the Broncos in Round 8.
Livewire half Paul Turner made a line-break and seven tackle-breaks on NRL debut against the Bulldogs, which would be his only appearance in 2020.
Peta Hiku made eight tackle-breaks during his two-try performance against the Tigers in Round 12.
Hard-to-handle back-row rookie Eliesa Katoa chalked up four-plus tackle-breaks in five of his 13 games.
Kodi Nikorima led the Warriors for try-assists with 15 from 19 games – equal-10th in the NRL.
Peta Hiku was the only other Warrior in the NRL’s top-50, chalking up nine from 18 games (equal-26th). Cameron Smith and Darius Boyd were the only players higher on the list who did not spend the majority of the season in the halves or at fullback.
Four of Chanel Harris-Tavita’s six try-assists come in the final-round win over Manly. Nikorima had three against Canterbury and two in a game four times.
Nikorima (12) also headed the Warriors’ linebreak-assist count with Hiku (10) second.
Kick precision 🎯
— NRL (@NRL) September 27, 2020
Jazz Tevaga (despite missing eight games) and Peta Hiku had the most offloads among Warriors players with 27, ranking them 13th in the NRL. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck wasn’t far behind with 25.
Tevaga’s average of 2.3 offloads per game was fifth in the NRL for 2020 – and second only to Parramatta’s Junior Paulo among players to make 10-plus appearances. Hiku, RTS, Eliesa Katoa and Hayze Perham all averaged more than one offload per game.
Tevaga reeled off a whopping six offloads in the Round 12 win over the Tigers
POINTSCORING AND GOALKICKING
Chanel Harris-Tavita needed just 62 points (from 13 games) to be the Warriors’ top scorer. It is the third-lowest top point-scorer tally in Warriors history, behind John Simon’s 54 in 2000 and Kevin Locke’s 60 in 2009.
Regular goalkickers Chanel Harris-Tavita landed 27 goals from 34 attempts (79.41 %) and Kodi Nikorima slotted 17 from 26 (65.38 %). Patrick Herbert kicked three from four.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was successful with his only attempt (and the second of his career, missing one for the Roosters in 2014), while Adam Pompey kicked one from two, and David Fusitu’a and Adam Blair missed their only shots.
Overall the Warriors kicked 49 goals from 69 attempts at an underwhelming success rate of 71.01 percent.
The Warriors conceded the third-most penalties per game in the NRL at 5.7 per game.
Jazz Tevaga (10) and Wayde Egan (9) conceded the most penalties of any Warriors players. Pinged 0.83 times per game, Tevaga averaged the second-most penalties per game of any player who made more than 10 appearances, behind only Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
The Warriors were the third-least error-prone team in the NRL, making just 10.1 errors per game. The Panthers and Dragons were the only sides better in that department in 2020.
Peta Hiku (25) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (20) were credited with the most errors this season among Warriors players.
David Fusitu’a racked up 12 errors in just seven appearances.
"To me it seems like it is 13 v 14 always" 👀
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) September 17, 2020
Adam Blair and Tohu Harris were the only Warriors to appear in all 20 games. Kodi Nikorima, Wayde Egan and Warriors Rookie of the Year Jamayne Taunoa-Brown both played in all but one game this season. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Peta Hiku appeared in 18 games.
For Harris, it was the first time since 2016 he had made more than 17 NRL appearances. Blair, meanwhile, played 20 games for an astounding 13th consecutive season (he racked up at least 22 appearances every year from 2008-19).
Blair broke Ruben Wiki’s record for most first-grade games by a non-Australian (311) and finished his career on 331 appearances – the 13th-highest tally in premiership history and the fourth-most by a prop/back-rower.
Blair advanced his appearances tally with the Warriors to 65 games, becoming the first player ever to play 60-plus games for four clubs (he previously played 121 games for Melbourne, 71 for Wests Tigers and 74 for Brisbane). Brett Finch and Scott Prince are the only other players to play 50 games for four clubs.
Along with Blair, Harris, Blake Green, Peta Hiku, Agnatius Paasi and Isaiah Papali’i all reached the 50-game mark for the Warriors. Harris also notched his 150th NRL game overall, while Lachlan Burr played his 50th NRL game.
David Fusitu’a became the 24th player to reach the 100-game mark for the Warriors. With 103 appearances, ‘Fus’ has played the most games for the club of any current Warriors, just ahead of Ken Maumalo (95) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (94).
Tuivasa-Sheck overtook Brent Webb’s record (87) for most games at fullback for the Warriors, starting all 94 of his games at the club in the No.1 jumper. Maumalo climbed to third place for most games on the wing for the Warriors and needs just 11 more to overtake Francis Meli (105).
Tom Ale became the Warriors’ 250th first-grader when he debuted against Canberra in Round 19.
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) September 27, 2020
The Warriors used 32 players across the 20-round season – the equal-most of any club with the Storm, Raiders (who both played three more games) and Broncos. Only three times have the Warriors used more players: 2000 (34), 2004 (35) and 2016 (34).
Twelve players became Warriors first-graders for the first time – the equal-most in any season since 2000.
The Warriors did not field the same 17 players in consecutive games in 2020.
The Warriors fielded four halves combinations in 2020. The Green-Nikorima combination won four of nine games; the Nikorima-Harris-Tavita pairing won three of eight; the Green-CHT combination lost all three of their games; and the Nikorima-Turner partnership grabbed a win in its only outing.
The longest run of naming the same back-five was just three games. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Patrick Herbert, Peta Hiku, Adam Pompey and George Jennings simultaneously held their positions from Round 13-15.
The Hiku-Pompey (Round 12-15) and Hiku-Perham (Round 16-19) combinations were the most frequent centre pairings with just four appearances together each; interestingly, both partnerships’ games were all in a row.
The old firm of Maumalo and Fusitu’a were the most regular wing pairing, despite playing just four games together as the Warriors’ flankmen (Round 8-11) before both headed home.
Adam Blair (10 games) and Wayde Egan (9) were the Warriors’ most frequent bench players. Both Agnatius Paasi and Daniel Alvaro came off the bench in all six games they played for the Warriors in 2020.
Lachlan Burr and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown were the most frequently used prop duo, starting six games together.
Tohu Harris and Eliesa Katoa were the run-on second-row pairing in 11 games; Jazz Tevaga joined them as starting lock in six of those matches.
The Warriors fielded the same starting pack in consecutive weeks just four times.
Despite Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s well-earned reputation as the Warriors’ talisman and best player, the team has won four of the five games he has missed over the past three seasons – including both games in 2020. The only loss without RTS during that period was the Warriors’ gallant, unlucky Anzac Day 2019 defeat to the Storm. Peta Hiku has filled in at fullback every time RTS has been missing since 2018.
Adam Blair became the third-oldest player to appear for the Warriors at 34 years and 191 days – edging Nathan Friend by just one day. Ruben Wiki (35 years, 250 days) and Steve Price (35 years, 164 days) occupy the top two spots.
Blake Green was 33 years and 316 days old when he played his last game for the Warriors, making him the sixth-oldest player in the club’s history.
Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, who turns 24 on November 17, became the Warriors’ second-oldest Rookie of the Year recipient. James Maloney turned 24 midway through his 2010 debut season at the club.
Todd Payten leaves the club with six wins from 14 games – a win rate of 42.9 percent, which places him sixth among all Warriors coaches and edges predecessor Stephen Kearney (33 wins and 1 draw from 79 games and 42.4 percent), who two of six games in charge in 2020 before being sent packing, into seventh.
Payten is the fifth coach to take over the Warriors mid-season. His 6-8 record stacks up solidly with Frank Endacott (4-5 in 1997), Tony Kemp (3-10 in 2004), Tony Iro (0-2 in 2012) and Andrew McFadden (10-9 in 2014).
The Warriors have had 12 coaches (including caretakers) in their 26-season history. The top six coaches in terms of win percentage are all Australians; the bottom six are all Kiwis.
Todd Payten on returning to the Cowboys, what he learnt at the Warriors, and what excites him about the future.
— NQ Cowboys (@nthqldcowboys) November 3, 2020