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Guts galore in a 30-16 loss to the Panthers, with high praise for our two herculean props and the wonderboy at the back.

1 REECE WALSH: Another exhilarating step on his rookie-season journey. Three line-breaks, a breath-taking try-assist in the first half and an outstanding try late in the piece, taking a return pass after putting Curran into half a gap. Composed, all but error free, tough and mature. A difficult game to be a fullback under these circumstances but was absolutely superb. Would have handled Origin easily. 8

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK: The performance of opposite Brian To’o was a reminder of what teams are getting from the NRL’s elite wingers, but DWZ was nonetheless strong for the third game in a row. Carted the ball up 19 times for 153 metres, made seven tackle-breaks, and pulled off a couple of last-ditch tackles to partially atone for rushing in as To’o scored. 7

3 ROCCO BERRY: Ran a great line to score off Walsh’s pass and was set for a great battle with Brent Naden until going off with a leg injury late in the first half. Looked very solid. 6

20 EUAN AITKEN: Disappointing return. Waits for the game to come to him, which is not a good fit for a centre Warriors’ current make-up. Made 13 runs for 84 metres but nothing that stood out. 5

4 MARCELO MONTOYA: A couple of bad, bad reads as Charlie Staines ran in a second-half double, but very wholehearted on the attacking side of things with 18 carries for 155 metres, including a line-break. Exceeding (low) expectations. 6.5

5 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c): The first start of his career not at fullback or wing lasted just 15 minutes, taking a one-way trip to Rainbow’s End courtesy of Matt Burton’s hip before he had much of a chance to make an impression. It looked bad and would not surprise to see the skipper sit out next week. 4

21 CHAD TOWNSEND: Horror start getting charged down inside two minutes for the first try and was rather patchy throughout, but battled on bravely despite clearly still being hampered by a shoulder problem and looked to take responsibility for his side’s fortunes in a manner rarely seen by a Warriors half in 2021. Put his broken body through seven runs and 15 tackles, forced two line drop-outs and had a try-assist foiled by a forward pass call. 6

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Spelled for just four minutes due to the team’s injury crisis and responded with an enormous 28 runs for 262 metres – including 123 post-contact metres – and 32 tackles. Also did a fair bit of ball-playing at the line. Only critique would be he could have wound up a bit more for his hit-ups early in the game, but more than made up for that in a war tank of a performance. 8

9 WAYDE EGAN: Great start, putting Lodge through a hole and backing up to score the Warriors’ first. His day finished after just 10 minutes due to a busted shoulder. 5.5

10 MATT LODGE: All character assessments aside, Lodge was a colossus at his old home ground. Played the entire 80 minutes, had a line-break and a try-assist as Egan scored, chewed off 144 metres on 19 runs, popped a game-high eight offloads and made 27 tackles. His second-phase and ball-playing will add another dimension to the Warriors’ attack. 8

22 TOHU HARRIS: The indefatigable back-rower’s early comeback from a shoulder injury lasted just 12 minutes due to a possible season-ending knee injury. Devastating. 4

12 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Played the entire match, starting in the second-row before moving into the halves. Good in defence (31 tackles) and was credited with two line-break assists, but otherwise a lemon in attack. Two errors and zero vision or impact with the ball in hand. 4.5

13 JAZZ TEVAGA: Huuuuuge 80-minute effort despite taking a few knocks. Racked up 16 runs for 108 metres and a game-high 47 tackles. Heart and soul player. 7.5


6 KODI NIKORIMA: Initially pitched into his regular five-eighth spot but ultimately played the last hour at hooker – and largely looked very sharp, despite a forward pass here and a wrong option there. Brown has shown his hand, so if RTS is able to play next week you’d have to think Kodi’s role will be as a 30-minute dummy-half pinch-hitter in coming weeks. 6

14 JOSH CURRAN: Fine return. Almost had a try – and a contender for the best try celebration to date – but for a forward pass, ran strongly all day, launched himself into his defensive work and offloaded superbly for Walsh to score after running a nice line off the fullback. 7

15 LEESON AH MAU: Decent numbers in 47 minutes on the park – 13 runs for 99 metres and 25 tackles – but limited impact. Seemingly nearing the end of the road as a Warrior. 5.5

11 ELIESA KATOA: The resurgence continues. Not as much of a factor on attack as the previous two rounds (though he still managed 10 runs for 72 metres) but was a defensive standout with 40 stops. Very hopeful he could turn into the player Haumole Olakau’atu is turning into on Manly’s right edge. 7

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