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I know why you’re here: to see what I gave Reece Walsh.

21 REECE WALSH: Thrown in the deep end at fulback and not only kept his head above water, but starred. Some scratchy moments scattered among the touches of class, courage and confidence, but his eagerness to challenge for the high ball, take on the kicking duties and test the defence with his running game had budding superstar (and Kalyn Ponga) written all over it. Two breath-taking try-assists late in the piece put the 18-year-old’s performance over the top as – in my opinion – the greatest NRL debut by a Warriors player, while he made an equal-team-high five tackle-breaks. Has to be in the 13 moving forward and could be a sensation for the rest of 2021 at five-eighth. 8.5

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK: Huge from the captain to move himself to accommodate the debut of his eventual successor. Still managed to lead his team with 182 metres from 22 runs despite playing the majority of the night on attack in a roving five-eighth/lock type role, but was caught out a couple of times defending on the wing. The thought of RTS returning to fullback and combining with Walsh in the halves in mouth-watering. 6

3 MARCELO MONTOYA: Barely featured until his game unravelled in the second half, with opposite Justin Olam spearing over for a try before Montoya failed to capitalise on a tough-but-gettable in-goal chance from a Nikorima grubber, and coughed up a regulation catch when the Warriors were on the attack. Forgettable. 4.5

18 ROCCO BERRY: Tough first half for the 19-year-old debutant, taking some poor defensive options as Hughes and co. tore up the Warriors’ left side with opposing centre Reimis Smith scoring twice. But bounced back strongly after the break, making eight runs for 63 metres in the second half alone and finishing with 11 tackles. Definitely something there worth persevering with. 6

5 KEN MAUMALO: First the positives: a maiden NRL hat-trick, the first and last tries of which well expertly taken opportunities. Also had 15 runs for 133 metres, second only to RTS in both departments. But Big Ken has become so cumbersome and unsure in defence that he may have trouble retaining a spot when the likes of Hiku, Aitken and Pompey are back on deck. 5.5

6 KODI NIKORIMA: Had a nightmarish first half in defence after moving to the left and struggled to fire on attack for the most part, though that side of his game got better as the game wore on. Unlucky not to chalk up a try-assist with a great grubber, but on the whole not a satisfying night from Kodi. 5

17 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Named in the halves but didn’t play as one, touching the ball just nine times and passing it twice. Racked up 29 tackles and had a few decent touches. 6

8 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN: Solid enough with eight carries for 64 metres and 21 tackles without a miss, but not huge production – or a great deal of authority up front – in a 47-minute performance. 6

9 WAYDE EGAN: Big hand in Big Ken first and BMM’s tries – very classy – and topped the tackle count with 33. Also led the team for missed tackles (6), had some dusty moments service-wise and his one kick was a dreadful option, a mid-count effort from his own 30 that went straight down a Storm player’s throat. 5.5

10 KANE EVANS: Not a bad first stint and finished with 10 runs for 81 metres (though 30 were from kick-returns) and two offloads, but only 10 tackles (two misses) in 33 minutes. Can’t understand why he’s starting over Leeson and/or Bunty. 5.5

4 JACK MURCHIE: A second-rower in defence – making 30 tackles – Murchie essentially played as a centre on attack and had some very nice touches along with 76 metres. Passed the ball four times, more than any player that didn’t effectively play in the spine on offence, and had the fastest play-the-ball speed (3.01s) aside from Nikorima. 7

11 JOSH CURRAN: On track for man-of-the-match honours after producing an impressive cut-out ball for Maumalo’s first try and a punishing hit on George Jennings that forced an error, but was farcically sin-binned for the latter. Ten runs for 81 metres and 26 tackles, bringing plenty of energy again after his best NRL performance last week, though a poor offside penalty was a strike against his name. Seemingly a fringe player before Team List Tuesday last week catapulted him into the starting side, it would be hard to drop Curran on the strength of his two outings to date. 7

14 JAZZ TEVAGA: Strangely anonymous during his time at lock with just 46 metres from seven runs. Had a bit of a stint at hooker with nothing much to report. Made 26 tackles. 5.5


12 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA: Had my vote as the Warriors’ best-on-ground prior to Walsh’s late flourish. In 35 minutes he barged over for a try, made eight powerful, leg-pumping runs for 79 metres (46 post-contact), an equal-team-high five tackle-breaks and 17 tackles – including several stinging and crucial stops – with no misses. Must be tempting to get the veteran into the starting team and give him more minutes. 8

15 BUNTY AFOA: Led the Warriors’ forwards with 12 carries and 95 metres, as well as reeling off 26 tackles. A good hit-out as Bunty continues to move closer to a new Warriors deal. 7

16 LEESON AH MAU: You guessed, no missed tackles to accompany his 24 stops. Also carted it up seven times for 66 metres. 6

20 TOM ALE: Bizarrely given just 12 minutes towards the end of the match but bent the line back with 43 metres from four runs. I’d have him ahead of Evans in the pecking order. 5.5

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