TWL RD 8: WARRIORS PLAYER RATINGS

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A hard one to sum up individually in such a sloppy-but-emotional win – but we’ve had a go anyway.

1 REECE WALSH: Some excellent clean-up plays at the back were the highlight with our livewire custodian struggling to impose himself on the contest. Just nine runs for 69 metres and came up with two errors. 5.5

3 JESSE ARTHARS: Shunted to the wing, Arthars started superbly with a great catch of a high ball and a run out of danger that scattered defenders and drew a penalty. Left the field injured early in the second half. 5.5

2 ROCCO BERRY: Named on the wing but pushed to his usual centre spot (back on the right where he excelled as a rookie) but probably wished he was in the grandstands after a bad read and a dismal attempt on Wighton featured in two of the Raiders’ first three tries. Just eight runs for 53 metres but some of his best work on both sides of the ball came in at the back-end of the game – including some aggressive golden point defence. 5

5 VILIAME VAILEA: Also moved to centre after being named to return for the first time since Round 1 on the wing, the teenager chased through to score a crucial try but was otherwise a mixed bag. Two errors, just eight runs for 55 metres and iffy in defence. Has talent, just can’t understand why Brown wouldn’t ease him in on the wing when he has versatile three-quarter options available. 4.5

4 ADAM POMPEY: Ran in the Warriors’ first try and was their only back to run for 70+ metres, finishing with 107 on 14 carries in an understated yet important performance. One bad error but otherwise pretty solild. 6.5

21 DAEJARN ASI: Hard not to get carried away, because the kid was superb in his 11th NRL game. Looked hungry and confident from the outset and barely flitted below those levels throughout – which cannot be said of any of his teammates. Two brilliant try-assists – one from the boot, one with a deft pass – a handful when he ran the ball and kicked very well. Has to be in a full-strength backline and looks an ideal centre given our lack of class in that area. 8

7 SHAUN JOHNSON: Well, it’s hard to complain too much with another golden point field goal – and this one was so classy. But he had an abysmal first hour: tentative with the ball, struggling for rhythm and meaningful involvement, threw a pass over the sideline in embarrassing fashion. Seemed to click around the hour mark when he decided to chance his arm running the footy – one snipe preceded Aitken’s try, while he got over the line for a go-ahead try only to be called back by the Bunker because of BMM’s clumsy decoy run. Great cover tackle on Wighton in the dying minutes. Overall, not what we need or want…won us the game but. 6

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Look at the stats and you’d assume it was another captain’s knock from AFB, racked up a game-high 145 metres from 17 runs and 25 tackles. But he was ordinary to start, stupidly challenging his play-the-ball bungle, getting penalised for spraying the ref on the back of it, and coughing up the ball straight after his team’s first try. Responded well in the end with a heavy workload, but will be better for Tohu Harris returning as forward leader so he can concentrate on just being one of the NRL’s most damaging props. 6

9 WAYDE EGAN: Really not sure how to sum up Egan’s performance, because I’ve seen some high praise when my first take was very patchy. Some incisive dummy-half running that was followed by bad errors, an equal-game-high 46 tackles but six misses. But ultimately kept things smooth around the ruck and directed traffic for the Warriors to claw back and get in position to win it in extra-time. 6

10 MATT LODGE: Gave away three penalties of varying recklessness, but effectively won us the game by savvily staying down to secure a late penalty and send the game into golden point. Otherwise strong with 16 runs for 137 metres, 29 tackles (one miss) and no errors – and probably for the second game in a row, looked like he cared the most during. 6.5

11 EUAN AITKEN: The only player to realistically push Asi for MVP honours, Aitken – arguably the Warriors’ best this season – came up big. Despite seemingly going months without passing previously, showed nice vision to throw a cut-out ball for the first try and ran a great line off Asi to score the only try of the second half. Finished with seven runs for 71 metres and an equal-game-high 46 tackles with no misses. We’ll miss him. 7.5

12 BAYLEY SIRONEN: One of his better running games with 10 carries for 81 metres and a couple of half-breaks, and made 36 tackles – but his five misses included a shocker as Wighton breezed through to score. Also had a face-melting error. But did enough good things overall to probably ensure Brown sticks with him. 5

13 JAZZ TEVAGA: Super-busy in defence with 38 tackles but had just five runs in 49 minutes of game-time. Didn’t do anything negative (zero errors, zero penalties) but rare to see him make such a limited impact. 5.5

 

15 BUNTY AFOA: Seven runs for 70 metres and 21 tackles without a miss, but a bad handling error stands out. Pretty decent all things considered. 5.5

16 ELIESA KATOA: Horrific drop soon after entering the fray but bounced back with nine runs for 78 metres and made 19 defensive stops in 38 minutes, though a brainless offload really brought his football IQ faculties into question. A shadow of the player that had us dreaming of the second coming of Ali Lauiti’iti a couple of years ago. 5.5

17 JACK MURCHIE: Got a bench spot for the second time in 2022 and ended up plugging a centre hole for the bulk of his 45 minutes on the paddock. Didn’t get much of a chance to shine with the ball but held down the edge defensively well at first booze-addled glance. Under the circumstances, his anonymity was a tick in his favour. 5.5

20 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA: Spent 28 eventful minutes on the park but not necessarily for the right reasons, giving away a penalty and producing an error soon after getting away with an errant elbow in possession that should’ve incurred another penalty. Don’t think we should bother with the 31-year-old if we can avoid it, even if he is chewing up an inordinate chunk of our cap – we’ve got better options at full/mid-strength. 4

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