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Every footy punter loves having a crack at the First Tryscorer markets. This week This Warriors Life breaks down the Warriors’ tryscoring stats over the past three seasons to shed some light on the best players to back to get over the stripe early.

Despite a long-held and deserved reputation for being slow out of the blocks, the Warriors have scored the first try in a shade under half of their matches – 35 of 72 – since the start of 2018. They won 34 and drew one of those games.

So far in 2021, it’s been left to unlikely types in the engine-room to open the Warriors’ account. Second-rower Bayley Sironen marked his club debut with the only try of the first half in Round 1, the fourth of his NRL career to date.

Bulldozing veteran Ben Murdoch-Masila came off the bench to put the Warriors on the board in Round 2 (though Wayde Egan was robbed by the Bunker a minute earlier) after Newcastle hooker Jayden Brailey had scurried over for the first try. Marquee prop Addin Fonua-Blake stormed over for the opener in Canberra last Saturday after just five minutes.

Sironen ($23), Murdoch-Masila ($23) and Fonua-Blake ($34) are all fairly conservatively-priced First Tryscorer options ahead of Sunday’s clash with injury-hit Sydney Roosters, given their positions and career strike-rates.

It’s perhaps a reflection of the Warriors’ unexpansive attacking style in the early days of Nathan Brown’s coaching tenure at the club. Giant wingers Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu’a have been starved of the ball at the opposition’s end of the field.

The duo is nevertheless rated the best Warriors chances in the First Tryscorer stakes in Round 4. Maumalo is at $10 and Fusitu’a $11 – albeit behind Roosters quartet Brett Morris ($7.50), Daniel Tupou ($9), Matt Ikavalu ($9) and James Tedesco ($9.50).

Brilliant fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ($17) is the next-shortest-priced Warrior, only just in front of Roosters back-rowers Sitili Tupouniua and Nat Butcher (both $18).

Since scoring an NRL-leading, club-record-equalling 23 tries in 23 games in 2018, Fusitu’a has endured a bewildering try drought. He has managed just six tries in 26 games from the start of 2019, including only one in his last 11 NRL appearances.

But even in 2018, when ‘Air Fus’ scored 28 percent of the Warriors’ tries and the club won 15 games, he was the First Tryscorer of the match just three times and posted his team’s opening four-pointer on another two occasions.

Fusitu’a’s five tries in 2019 did not account for the first overall or team try of a match, but his sole try of 2020 – in a heavy loss to Souths – was the first of the game. Fellow Warriors right-wingers Patrick Herbert (twice) and Adam Pompey also earned First Tryscorer honours during 2020.

Maumalo has proved a much more potent option. ‘Big Ken’ scored only five tries in 2018 but was the First Tryscorer of the match twice and scored the Warriors’ opener on another occasion. In a breakout 2019 campaign that garnered 17 tries, Maumalo saluted for First Tryscorer punters five times and got his team off the mark in one other game.

Maumalo scored five tries in eight games in 2020 before heading home to Auckland; he was the First Tryscorer of the match once and the Warriors’ First Tryscorer three times.

The Warriors’ centres named to take on the Roosters, Adam Pompey – who has scored in the past two rounds – and club debutant Marcelo Montoya, are both offering a juicy $23 First Tryscorer price. Slated Roosters starting centres Josh Morris ($14) and Joey Manu ($15) are rated far better chances – no doubt, in part, due to the fact Pompey and Montoya are defending against them.

But Warriors centres have a decent First Tryscorer strike-rate: Solomone Kata was the first to cross in three matches in 2018, while the currently injured Peta Hiku dotted down for the opener three times across 2019-20.

Second-rower Jack Murchie came off the bench to score the Warriors’ first try in two matches last year. He received his first taste of NRL for 2021 as a replacement in the unfamiliar centre role when Hiku went off against the Raiders but is unlikely to enter the fray early enough to justify getting behind at $23 to be the First Tryscorer on Sunday.

Meanwhile, no Warriors halfback or five-eighth has scored the first try of a match since Mason Lino in Round 7 of 2018. Kodi Nikorima has scored two tries in 2021 and is a tempting $26 First Tryscorer proposition, but despite his tantalising ball-running talents he often takes his time to put them on show. Six of Nikorima’s eight tries for the club have come in the second half.

At the same price, the more tenacious Sean O’Sullivan may provide better value against his former club – despite having not bagged a meat pie since scoring on debut for the Roosters in 2018.

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Categories: Previews + Reviews, Team News + Stats, WARRIORS NEWS

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