TWL RD 10: WARRIORS PLAYER RATINGS

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Much like the final scoreline, the individual ratings from the Warriors’ 32-30 loss to South Sydney don’t quite reflect how truly awful the team’s overall performance was. At least they learned how to score against 12.

1 REECE WALSH: For the second straight game, a shining light radiating out of the Warriors trashpile. Ran for a game-high 200 metres – including 50 from a string of incisive dummy-half scurries – and constantly pushed up on attack to threaten on the edge. Try-assist with a pinpoint bomb to start the comeback, beautiful play to help set up Montoya’s second and also forced an early line dropout with the boot. Four errors, but such a competitor and there must be a temptation to try him in the halves, despite the dearth of quality fullback options. 8

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK: The myth that DWZ is anything more than an average-at-best NRL winger will continue to haunt the Warriors as it did the Bulldogs until they wised up. Bombed a try, clueless in defence and just 67 running metres. Amazing to think he captained New Zealand to a Test win over Australia. 4

3 VILIAMI VAILEA: Only his sixth game and switched sides after two games on the left, but getting found out on defence with his cement-footed efforts. Eight runs for 41 metres in an attacking display with nothing notable to report. 4.5

4 ADAM POMPEY: Abhorrent defensive reads as Souths ran in the first two tries down the Warriors’ right side, getting obsessed with decoy runner Kaloamatangi – who was well covered – on both occasions. Also gave away a penalty and came up with a handling error. But finished in the black on attack courtesy of backing up to score the try that kick-started the comeback, showing lovely quick hands to send Montoya over for the last try and finishing with 106 metres from 10 runs. 5.5

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Returned from a month on the sidelines in erratic fashion with some questionable defensive efforts early on and an in-goal catastrophe near miss. Responded very well with an excellent finishes for the Warriors’ first and last tries, a brilliant bomb-catch-and-offload try-assist and 179 metres from 19 carries in a typically full-throttle running performance. 7

6 DAEJARN ASI: Quiet for lengthy periods but a slick try-assist as Montoya scored before halftime and a neat solo effort during the comeback. Ten runs for 85 metres, made 20 tackles (though probably contributed to the right edge’s early struggles on defence) and forced a line dropout. 6

7 SHAUN JOHNSON: A mixed bag but probably his best performance overall since the win over Brisbane. Kicking game on the whole was outstanding – two forced dropouts, long game was on song – but a deflected mid-set kick relieved impressive early pressure and a first-tackle gamble a higher-percentage play than the result (ie. a clumsy chase) made it look but was a rush of blood nonetheless. Key hand in the Warriors first try, long run in the lead-up to their first of the second half…and then completely bombed what would have been a clever kick-and-chase solo try (after he probably should have shifted wide on the previous play). Chalked up 114 metres from 13 runs, which should satisfy at least one aspect of doubters’ grievances. 6

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: An industrious effort with 187 metres (83 post-contact) from 19 runs and 28 tackles without a miss in 56 minutes, and no errors or infringements to speak of. But just lacking the impact of the early rounds for me – rare to see AFB without a tackle-break or offload. 6.5

13 JAZZ TEVAGA: Switched to hooker after Egan’s withdrawal and went OK in his 25 minutes there, though the highlight was his late scramble for a try. Solid enough in the back-row and finished with 42 tackles (though five misses) and eight runs for 67 metres, while also giving away an untimely penalty. 5.5

10 MATT LODGE: Picked up where he left off last week to a degree with 14 runs for 148 metres, though defensively he wasn’t quite the heat-seeking missile he was against the Sharks. Also had a line-break assist and a team-high six tackle-breaks. 6.5

17 JACK MURCHIE: One of the Warriors’ more effective attacking players in the first half (despite a handling error) and looked to enjoy linking with Johnson. Racked up 12 runs for 107 metres and an impressive 45 tackles in an heartening 80-minute effort. 6.5

18 ELIESA KATOA: Late call-up and figures of 31 tackles and 68 metres look OK on paper but the error and penalty he gave up were more memorable than anything positive from the big fella. 5

14 AARON PENE: Was excited for his chance to start at lock and was busy in a pair of 19-minute stints, carting the ball up for 100 metres on 11 carries…but just doesn’t bend the line like I thought he would. 5

12 TOHU HARRIS: It’s hard to bag Tohu, but I found his late shot on the Rabbitohs’ kicker just after he came on – for which he was penalised and put on report – pretty fucken ordinary. Five runs for 38 metres and 24 tackles, but the highlight of the skipper’s 30-minute comeback showing was clearly a sweet ball to send Bunty Afoa steaming through a gap. 5

15 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA: Four runs and 15 tackles in 30 minutes of game-time. Maybe I don’t play close enough attention, but it would not have surprised me if you’d told me he didn’t get on. 4

16 BUNTY AFOA: Arguably the Warriors’ best after Walsh, making his 41 minutes count with 132 metres (59 post-contact) and an exhilarating line-break from nine runs and 30 tackles without a miss. Would be good if that was the standard rather than the two-times-a-season display, but impressive anyway. 7.5

25 FREDDY LUSSICK: Fell off some tackles early and took a while to gel into a team he’s been around for just five days, but went alright at dummy-half and ended up making 41 tackles in 55 minutes. The bigger question, though, is why he was rushed into the 17 instead of Taniel Otukolo, who had been on the cusp all year but only used at NRL level for a couple of back-row stints for which he is unsuited. 5

South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 (Taane Milne 2, Alex Johnston, Blake Taafe, Damien Cook, Lachlan Ilias tries; Taafe 4 goals) defeated Warriors 30 (Marcelo Montoya 2, Adam Pompey, Jazz Tevaga, Daejarn Asi tries; Reece Walsh 5 goals) at Suncorp Stadium

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