TWL RD 12: WARRIORS PLAYER RATINGS

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Dishing out some digits after a heart-breaking loss in Townsville.

1 REECE WALSH: The kid just keeps producing. After a patchy first half with limited opportunities and spent largely under pressure, Walsh ripped the Cowboys apart to almost singlehandedly erase the 16-point halftime deficit. Great speed and deception to help lay on Aitken’s second, an 85-metre run and brilliant finish to score himself and another magic cut-out ball to send Montoya in. Copped some tough knocks but kept bouncing back and always looked the Warriors’ most threatening. Could hardly be more impressive: so confident, tough and boasts the rarest of footy instincts. Had a game-high 230 running metres, four tackle-breaks and three offloads. Judging by the halves’ late bungles, it’s already time to be entrusting the 18-year-old with the ball in the clutch – whether it’s closing out a late lead or attempting to break a deadlock. 8.5

2 MARCELO MONTOYA: Sketchy in the first half defensively but was one of the Warriors’ best after the break. Great awareness to send Walsh on his tryline-bound run and a fine finish to score himself, while the enigmatic former Bulldog finished with 144 metres and four tackle-breaks from 15 runs. Surprisingly good. 7

3 ADAM POMPEY: Get him out to the wing. Ran strongly (100 metres from 12 carries) as he invariably does, but offers little else that the game’s better centres do and often looks a bit lost on defence when forced to make decisions. Gave away a crusher tackle penalty. 5.5

4 EUAN AITKEN: Great finish to bag the first try of the match before strolling in the first try of the second half while stationed on the wing from a scrum. Some great charges among 142 metres on 15 runs, but was stood up by ‘The Hammer’ as he streaked away for the late leveller. 7

5 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK: An absolute workhorse with 21 runs for 200 metres and had a nice try-assist for Aitken’s second, but wasn’t able to involvement himself as effectively in attack as he did against the Tigers. Also rushed in injudiciously as opposing winger Tualagi ran in his first-half try. 7

6 KODI NIKORIMA: Some great moments, including an early try-assist, several big stops among 24 tackles (and just misses) and multiple big conversions from out wide. But just struggles to come up with the right play when the game is on the line. A woeful kick gave the Cowboys a seven-tackle set in what proved a momentum-turning moment that gave the hosts the opportunity to stage their late rally. Very quiet night from a ball-running perspective and a glaring last-tackle knock-on also blighted his performance. 5

7 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA: Similar story to Kodi: inspiring defence, some probing runs, generally solid and looked confident protecting the lead with some calm last-tackle options. But just couldn’t get it done as the match wound down. Hard to blame him for a missed field goal…but it would have won the game and the best players bury those. 5.5

8 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN: Strong defensively with 27 tackles in 34 minutes, but carted the ball up just five times. Tradesmanlike, which seems to be JTB’s general M.O. – would like to see more presence from a regular front-row starter. 5.5

9 WAYDE EGAN: Great vision to set up the Warriors’ first and last tries with blindside jaunts, while he finished with a game-high 58 tackles. Nice takeaways, but just lacks the frequent impact that many NRL hookers – including his opposite tonight, Reece Robson – provide their teams. Arguably the least robust No.9 in rugby league. 6

10 KANE EVANS: Why is he in first grade? Played just 27 minutes after being reinstated to the starting line-up, making seven mostly pedestrian hit-ups and 17 tackles. Lachlan Burr offered more. 5

11 JACK MURCHIE: Stood out on the edge in the first half, denting the line regularly. Also reeled off 35 tackles. An early stripping penalty allowed the Cowboys to wrest back the momentum after the Warriors’ early try. 6

12 ELIESA KATOA: Played the entire first half – racking up 60 metres and 23 tackles – but wasn’t used for a second stint. Two errors, including an unnecessary offload when his team were down to 12 men, leading to Cowboys points. 5.5

13 TOHU HARRIS: The Warriors’ most dependable forward, though a bit quieter with the ball than usual with just 81 metres on 11 runs. A defensive colossus with 48 tackles. 7.5

 

14 JAZZ TEVAGA: Oh, Jazzy. Ridiculous late tackle rightly earned 10 minutes in the bin, which cost the Warriors 12 points. A terrier when on the field – eight runs for 75 metres, 27 tackles and plenty of aggro – but six missed tackles was not a great look either. 5

15 LEESON AH MAU: Played by far the most minutes (45) of any of the Warriors’ four props and was strong with 11 carries for 85 metres and 25 tackles. I don’t think I even need to tell you he didn’t miss any – 11th time in 12 games (and missed just one in the other). 7

16 BUNTY AFOA: Big Bunty made six runs for 55 metres in 18 minutes of game-time. Eighteen minutes. Brown’s forward rotation is a mess. 6

17 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA: Speaking of the coach’s interchange policies… BMM has been arguably the Warriors’ most effective forward after Tohu, and was superb in 34 minutes on the paddock with eight runs for 89 metres and three tackle-breaks, as well as taking the lead in the club’s tryscoring race with his sixth of the season. But not bringing him on until the second half beggars belief. 7.5

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