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A soon-to-depart veteran centre was our best, while a pair of in-form forwards and an overachieving winger nestled themselves on the second tier of strong performers.

1 REECE WALSH: Ultimately the focus will be on his one-from-five effort off the tee, which essentially cost the Warriors the win. But had a strong all-round game aside from a misjudged jump to help the Broncos score their first try. Made just nine runs but had 144 metres, a game-high seven tackle-breaks and a searing line-break in the lead-up to the Warriors’ first try, which he popped another key pass for. Then came up with a massive eyes-up play near the end to grubber for Aitken’s controversial four-pointer. Still far more positive than negative and his desire to take responsbility for the team’s fortunes – as evidenced by his audacious late two-point field goal attempt – is a great sign. 7

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK: A mixed bag in his 150th. Bad play-the-ball error led to Broncos’ second try and baulking at a bouncing ball allowed Albert Kelly to grab a crucial second-half try. Scored a try but wasn’t as strong with his ball-running (18 runs for 136 metres, zero tackle-breaks) and missed some tackles. The kind of up-and-down display I was afraid of when he came on board – hopefully not a portent for the future, because he has been good up to now. 5

3 PETA HIKU: A clear standout. Scored one brilliant try, had another narrowly disallowed, saved one with a sensational tackle to hold Milford up, absolute classic try-assist for DWZ, finished with 133 metres on 16 runs and chalked up 22 tackles – including more great stops – opposite the dangerous Herbie Farnworth. All class, deserved to finish on a winning team and hard to believe the Warriors couldn’t find another deal for him. 8.5

4 ADAM POMPEY: A tally of 15 runs for 150 metres looks pretty good, but who knows what he would be capable of if he put in the ball-running effort of some of his teammates – he really ambles up to the defensive line and shows little aggression. Poor defensive miss on Milford in the Broncos’ second try was mitigated by his nice assist for Montoya’s four-pointer, but still seems to lack the footy IQ to be a top-line centre. 5.5

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Superb again. Defused a number of hairy situations at the back – a rarity on a day the Warriors struggled against the Broncos’ attacking kicks – and chewed through 147 metres on 15 runs. Marcelo is full of heart and keeps stuffing my doubting words back down my throat with every full-throttle display. 7.5

6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA: Couldn’t get the Warriors over the line but another decent display from CHT in his third game back. Played key roles in two Warriors tries, ran with purpose and kicked well in a performance chock-full of effort. A couple of errors, but all in all finished on the credit side. 6.5

22 CHAD TOWNSEND: A slick hand in three tries with his passing game, but otherwise was a bit up and down for my liking, given he was pitched in late for the lionhearted Sean O’Sullivan. Ran for just 34 metres and missed five tackles – two areas SOS has been very strong in recent weeks. Kicking game was passable at best. 6

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE (c): The skipper couldn’t have done a great deal more for his team, topping the match tackle count (38, no misses) and running metres tally (207 on 19 carries). Didn’t really get his second-phase game going this week, though. 7.5 

17 JAZZ TEVAGA: Did a serviceable job in a 17-minute opening stint at hooker, before only getting the last nine minutes as a middle forward in a criminal miscalculation from Nathan Brown. Finished with 31 tackles in bugger all time on the park but the Warriors definitely could have used his tenacity on both sides of the ball for a longer period. 6

10 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN: Ten runs for 96 metres and 35 tackles in a tradesmanlike 44-minute effort, but not up to his 2020 rookie-season standard and not enough to demand his inclusion in a full-strength Warriors 17. 6

11 EUAN AITKEN: Very much at home in the back-row. Ran for 90 metres on 12 carries, racked up six tackle-breaks and finished with 31 tackles and just one miss in an excellent defensive display, and his efforts were rewarded with a dubious late try after having one taken off him for a double-movement in the first half. The only excuse for moving him would be to get Pompey out of the centres. 7.5

12 JOSH CURRAN: Not as dominant as he has been, though a great try enhanced his overall contribution. Just nine runs for 65 metres and six missed tackles against 33 stops. 6

13 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Too anonymous to wear the No.13 when Tevaga was an option. Just five runs for 35 metres was a dismal return for 48 minutes on the paddock. Good defensively as usual, making 35 tackles with just one miss. 5


9 WAYDE EGAN: Benched for the first 17 minutes and the Warriors looked much better for his injection. Very slick at dummy-half, excellent option and pass for Curran’s try and reeled off 32 tackles. His one kick was ill-advised, however, launching it on the fourth tackle but failing to find open space. The Broncos grabbed an extended field position and momentum advantage, as well as breaking the scoreboard deadlock. 7

15 BUNTY AFOA: Given more minutes than usual and made his 38 laps around the clock count with eight big carries for 98 metres and three tackle-breaks. Also notched 27 tackles. Solid. 6.5

16 ELIESA KATOA: Strong on attack with 11 carries for 100 metres, though overall perhaps a bit down on his recent peformances. Could be in strife for a flare-up on fulltime that saw him put on report. 6

21 JACK MURCHIE: Odd inclusion, playing just 12 minutes and making three runs and five tackles. 4


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