TWL RD 2: WARRIORS V TITANS PLAYER RATINGS

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Individual appraisals for an overwhelmingly frustrating, occasionally encouraging 20-18 loss to the Titans on Saturday arvo.

1 REECE WALSH: Overplayed his hand at times, came up with a couple of basic errors on attack and at the back, and didn’t get his hands on the ball enough when the game was on the line late. But he looked dangerous whenever involved, he laid on Montoya’s try with speed and superb timing, and finished with a team-high 193 metres from 18 runs and five tackle-breaks. Will be much better off for SJ returning and creating more space for him, as well as not having to be the constant go-to. 6.5

2 ADAM POMPEY: Having him back on the wing for the first time since 2020 was certainly preferably to his 16 pedestrian outings at centre last year, but the question has to be asked whether Pompey is genuine NRL quality. Made hard work of a jammy first-half try and butchered a potential match-winner with poor positional play and inadequate handling. Made 112 metres from 11 runs – not enough for the Warriors’ biggest outside-back. A solid back-up, but now that Peter O’Sullivan is gone there’s no need to pretend he’s much more. 5

3 JESSE ARTHARS: Needs to get far more involved on attack – because just about every touch in his club debut was quality. Troubled the defensive line with all six runs (81 metres), good play-the-ball speed and all but laid on a decisive try for Pompey with a beautiful draw and flick, as well as producing a string of big defensive moments among 20 tackles (zero misses). As it stands now, Arthars is the best centre in the club. 7

4 ROCCO BERRY: Can we turn the dial back on the Rocco Berry hype machine a couple of notches now? Learning the game in a difficult situation – in a frequently-changing line-up for a mid-to-low level team – but he was all at sea against the Titans. Berry is an impressive athletic specimen and chalked up 127 metres on 13 carries, but his timing on backline shifts is poor, he got caught on the last multiple times, coughed up the ball with a try beckoning and kicked when he shouldn’t have. A work in progress who will get better…just not his day and tonnes to learn. 4.5

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Last season’s surprise packet is defying expectations again so far in 2022 – for the wrong reasons. His opposing wingers have piled on five tries in two games and it was hard defend the role he played in both of Marzhew’s four-pointers, caught miles out of position on both occasions. Marcelo ate a huge fend for the first and was too far off his wing to even get that opportunity for the second. On the plus side, 153 metres from 15 runs and a nicely finished try. 5

6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA: Overall, a decent return to the No.6 for CHT. Unlucky to a try taken off him after a spearing run under the posts, had a slick hand in Montoya’s try, did the bulk of the kicking and did it well (including a wonderful 40/20 and a forced dropout) and reeled off 24 tackles. Has to shoulder some of the blame for the Warriors’ poor attack inside the 20, though. 6.5

7 ASH TAYLOR: Looking pretty comfortable in his first NRL game as a non-Titan, playing a key role in Montoya’s try, setting up a fortunate try with a good kick and forcing a line dropout. Would’ve like to have seen a bit more creativity when the Warriors had so much quality ball in the second half, while he was credited with a whopping 11 missed tackles and two penalties conceded. 5.5

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE (C): A behemoth again in the heat, playing 54 minutes and racking up 184 metres on 14 carries – including a barnstorming line-break for the second week in a row – and showing off his silky passing skills. Also made 22 tackles without a miss. 8

9 WAYDE EGAN: Some good, some bad. Threw away early good ball with a reckless dummy-half pass but atoned when he burrowed over for and then carved up the Titans through middle with a line-break. Pulled the wrong rein on attack a couple of times, result in soft last-tackle turnovers. Tallied 33 tackles. 6.5

10 MATT LODGE: Contributed five runs for 66 metres and nine tackles in a frenetic opening 20 minutes despite being crook, before spewing his ring out and failing to return. Could’ve used him. 5

11 EUAN AITKEN: Another quality 80-minute effort, getting the Warriors’ sets moving with strong runs (15 carries for 120 metres) regularly. Not as sound defensively as last week (29 tackles, 3 misses, 2 ineffective) but developing into a reliable presence on the left edge. 7

12 ELIESA KATOA: Stood up by Brimson as the Titans scored in the first minute but bounced back well, finishing with 33 tackles and 12 runs for 113 metres. Struck up a good combination with Taylor after growing into his fledgling partnership with Johnson last week. 6.5

13 JOSH CURRAN: Not sure if he has more Dally M points coming this week but had to again be close to being the Warriors’ best. An absolute workhorse with a game-high 44 tackles and 16 runs for 148 metres in 73 minutes, constantly busy on attack as a runner or passer, and produced a magnificent charge-down and regather. A rush of blood third-tackle grubber that was bizarrely praised by the commentators was a bit of a black mark against an excellent effort. A real inspiration who will be hard to shift out of that No.13 jersey, Tohu or no Tohu. 8

 

14 JAZZ TEVAGA: Though I’ve never been the biggest fan of Jazz being the dummy-half relief, I thought he was really good in 21 minutes there today. Crisp service and chose his times to run well. A busy ball-runner after reverting to a middle forward role when Egan return, finishing with 113 metres. 6.5

15 BUNTY AFOA: One of big Bunty’s best showings in the NRL. An immense 14 runs for 144 metres in 35 minutes on the paddock, got his rarely-seen passing game going and just looked super-hungry. The Warriors pack didn’t look any less imposing for having him out there, which was a problem at times in 2021 when AFB came off. 7.5

16 AARON PENE: Loved what I’ve seen so far and really want to see more. In just 23 minutes, the ex-Storm forward charged for 110 metres on nine carries and was an all-round menace. So big, mobile and powerful – Brown needs to find more game-time for him. Plus check out this remarkable stat from TEETS NRL below 7.5

17 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Improved from zero runs last week to one run for two metres, while at least the commentators called his name a few times during his 29 minutes on the park, during which time he made 18 tackles. Still hard to see what he offers, or him keeping a place until Tohu’s return inevitably bumping him out of the 17. 4

 

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