TWL RD 15: WARRIORS PLAYER RATINGS

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This exasperated edition of TWL‘s Warriors player ratings is dedicated to my man Duelo Duel Deulz.

1 REECE WALSH: A c%*t of a day to be a fullback and Walshy felt the brunt of an aerial assault the Warriors were too dumb to execute themselves. This may sound weird or fanboy-ish, but the way he makes his errors and his reactions to them tell me as much about his champion qualities as the special things he does. Some brilliant moments of course – the 70-metre kick-return that came up just short of producing another long-range solo try, the amazing aerial take that almost earned a try in the second half, the awesome sideline conversion – and a fair bit of toughness shown to play out the game and be the Warriors’ go-to despite taking a bunch of knocks. Finished with team-high tallies of 177 metres and four errors. 7

2 MARCELO MONTOYA: I’ve been harsh on Marcelo at times and regularly questioned his aptitude as a first-grader, but he was great today in conditions custom-made to make him a villain. Ran strongly (13 runs for 104 metres) and came up with several big, big defensive plays. Close to the Warriors’ best, all things considered. 7.5

21 ADAM POMPEY: Drafted in late for Berry and did OK, 97 metres and 11 tackles. No standout moments, no big balls-ups. Destined for the wing still though. 5.5

4 EUAN AITKEN: Huuuuge play to put the Warriors on the board with a great pick-up and barnstorming runaway try – his best moment for the club so far. Finished the match with 166 metres – making several good charges out of trouble – in an encouraging performance after a few underwhelming ones. Didn’t quite hit the mark defensively on Pearce as the Knights bagged the match-winner. 7

5 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c): The skipper couldn’t get himself into the game today. Had a team-high 17 runs but just 145 metres. Probably would’ve been better at fullback today given the conditions certainly played second fiddle to an under-the-pump Walsh. 6

6 KODI NIKORIMA: Not the sort of conditions of game situation Kodi traditionally thrives in and so it proved. A couple of pristine moments – a line-break assist for Katoa and a wonderful kick to force a drop-out – but lacked leadership yet again and slunk into the background when the game was on the line. While I sympathise with the circumstances that may be at play, his rumoured exit would be a boon for the team. 5

7 SEAN O’SULLIVAN: We gave SOS’s first-grade stint earlier this season a fairly solid pass mark, but today was diabolical. Giving away obstruction penalties, awful kicks while on attack with tackles up their sleeve, getting tackled on the last without a whimper, constant clunkiness and a penchant for being snail-paced in everything he did – it’s hard to remember a more incompetent performance from a player wearing the Warriors’ No.7 jumper. On a positive note, made a whopping 35 tackles. 4

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Time to starting earning that fat pay-cheque, dude. Racked up 103 metres and 33 tackles but seemed content to just be part of the front-row rotation, rather than the bodacious leader he has been hyped as – and largely delivered as during the opening three rounds. I know he’s recently back from a long injury layoff, but still underwhelming. 5.5

9 JAZZ TEVAGA: Spent all but seven of his 54 minutes of game-time at hooker and generally gave good dummy-half service, made a few nice runs and reeled off 42 tackles (but missed seven). Not a fan of Jazz at hooker but certainly no complaints, especially given the conditions and the more erratic displays of the first-choice. 6.5

10 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA: Packed a bit into his 36 minutes on the park: seven runs for 82 metres and 25 tackles. But two games in this role have not seen BMM provide the same impact as he has for the most part in 2021. Sin-binned late for a lazy high-tackle that snuffed out any chance of a late escape. 5

11 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Got through a pile of defence during his time on the field but an HIA ended his day after 34 minutes. A bad play-the-ball error coming out of trouble. Still trying to work out if he can genuinely fit into this 17 when we’re at full-strength – just not showing enough of the kitbag we thought he was bringing from Souths. 4.5

12 TOHU HARRIS: Typical Tohu: 13 runs for 101 metres and a game-high 55 tackles, plus a couple of offloads, without missing a minute. All class. 7.5

13 JOSH CURRAN: Played 66 minutes but made only five runs. Tireless in defence with 47 tackles, including some great stops near the try-line. A satisfactory way to mark extending his contract. 6

 

14 ELIESA KATOA: The 2020 rookie sensation’s best attacking display of the season with 10 runs for 73 metres, including a superb line-break off a Kodi pass and several probing charges on the right edge. Made 28 tackles but a bad miss as Fitzgibbon scored. 6

15 LEESON AH MAU: Packed in 10 hit-ups – including several impressive ones – in a modest 36 minutes on the paddock. Uncharacteristic with two misses along with 17 tackles. But seemed prominent when in the fray. 6

17 KANE EVANS: Surprisingly retained when Otukolo came onto the bench, Evans had his best game for the Warriors by a fair margin – despite juggling the pill on more than one occasion and always seeming on the verge of a shambles. Made eight runs for 73 metres in just 28 minutes on the field and dished up three quality offloads. Solid. 6.5

22 TANIELA OTUKOLO: Couldn’t have been an easy game to debut in but went well. Didn’t get to showcase his touted running game at all, but gave very slick dummy-half service and reeled off 27 tackles (one miss) in 33 minutes of game-time. Would have no problem with Otukolo in the No.9 this year. 6.5

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