TWL RD 11: WARRIORS PLAYER RATINGS

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Pompey’s gonna Pompey.

1 REECE WALSH: Lovely role in DWZ’s try, led the team with seven tackle-breaks and busy with 16 runs for 131 metres among 37 touches – but overall not as impressive as recent weeks and overshadowed by Dragons opposite Cody Ramsey. Tough one-from-four day off the tee proved the difference on the scoreboard and very lucky not to be binned in the second half, but was penalised to give Saints the six-point buffer. 6

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK: Massive improvement on last week. Ran for 136 metres on 15 carries, spectacular in the air at both ends – setting up Vailea’s first try especially – and a fine finish for his fifth try in six 2022 appearances. If this was his base level performance I’d be more than comfortable with DWZ as a long-term Warriors winger – but it isn’t. 7

3 VILIAMI VAILEA: Turned a bit of a corner after some dusty showings since returning to the first-grade line-up. On the spot to pick up a first-half double, deft final pass for Dallin to score and looked much stronger on the carry with 99 metres from 11 runs. Though he was credited with seven misses, Vailea showed plenty of pluck in defence against steamroller Moses Suli. Encouraging. 6.5

4 ADAM POMPEY: Given he is 35 games into his NRL career and chronically over-regarded by the club, Pompey’s display was worse than Kosi’s Anzac Day debacle and up there with the worst ever in Warriors history. Easily taken into touch twice, a fumble in the tackle and a horrific defensive read led to Ramsey’s first-half try, while he was blitzed by Ramsey in the second half before opposing centre Lomax’s go-ahead four-pointer. Threw the ball into touch with a low-percentage flick pass in the latter stages not long ahead his second venture over the sideline. Made eight tackles and missed a whopping eight. In the positive column, led the team’s backs with 167 metres. Extending Pompey but being unable to come to terms with Peta Hiku sums up the Warriors’ roster management. 2

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Play didn’t go his way on attack like it did last week – and he was handicapped by playing outside Pompey – but was once again the Warriors’ tone-setter out of their own end with 18 strong carries for 142 metres. Would have been relieved to see his opposite finish with zero tries after Ravalawa’s Round 1 hat-trick. 6.5

6 DAEJARN ASI: Looked dangerous taking the line on, reeled off 24 tackles and forced a line dropout with his only kick. Would have like to see him with ball in his hands more, only chalking up 25 touches. 5.5

7 SHAUN JOHNSON: Atrocious start, dropping the kick-off and putting an early kick out on the full. Largely responsible for all four Warriors tries, though, with two pinpoint kicks leading to Vailea tries either side of his solo effort, and digging into the line to help set up DWZ in the corner. Some big stops among 24 tackles and finished with 67 touches, but too quiet when the Warriors were playing from behind in the last 20 minutes. Nevertheless, the notion that SJ could/should be dropped is ridiculous. 6

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Absolutely massive in 46 minutes on the park, running for 209 metres (101 post-contact) from 17 carries and consistently getting quick play-the-balls. But AFB’s best showing in weeks was cut short 12 minutes into his second stint by a foot injury that could could see the Warriors firm even further in the wooden spoon market. 7.5

9 JAZZ TEVAGA: Big effort in his 100th NRL game with 35 tackles and nine runs for 71 metres, including some hearty charges that were instrumental to the Warriors’ first-half tries. Four tackle-breaks, no errors or penalties. 7

15 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA: Promoted to start after Lodge’s shock exit and offered up five runs for 47 metres and 19 tackles in 25 minutes. OK but not a realistic starting line-up solution given what we’re used to Lodge providing. 5

11 EUAN AITKEN: One of the Warriors’ best and most consistent in 2022, the returning Aitken put in probably his least auspicious performance since moving to the second-row. Awful goal-line clean-up gifted the Saints their first try and had a modest impact with the ball, 65 metres on nine runs. Worked hard on defence with 34 tackles, missing three. 4.5

13 JACK MURCHIE: A second-straight 80-minute effort from big Jack, making 32 tackles and seven runs on the edge after being named at lock. Nothing great, nothing terrible – though made one error and gave away a six-again. 5

12 TOHU HARRIS: Switching to the middle after being named in the second-row, the skipper played 70 minutes in just his second game in 10 months and look more or less like the super reliable, classy engine-room soldier we’ve become accustomed to. Made 17 runs for 155 metres, racked up 35 tackles and was heavily involved on attack with 17 passes. Much better for having him there – but boy does a lot rest on his shoulders now with Lodge and potentially AFB out of the side in quick succession. 7

 

14 AARON PENE: Got busy in 25 minutes off the pine, racking up an impressive nine carries for 84 metres and 15 tackles without a miss. 6

16 BUNTY AFOA: Clearly the Warriors’ second-best prop (if you still count Tohu as a back-rower) with Lodge gone – which is something of a concern for the club but also a reflection of Bunty’s consistency in 2022. Played half the game, ran for 80 minutes on eight carries – including a couple of back-fencers – and made 22 tackles. Couldn’t stop Michael Molo one-on-one on the goal-line. 6

17 FREDDY LUSSICK: Looks at home in first grade and in a Warriors jersey (in a good way), playing 49 minutes at dummy-half and generally impressing. Clever run and kick to earn a line dropout soon after his injection, crisp service all afternoon and made some fine defensive plays – including combining with Bunty to crunch Jack de Belin and force an error, and covering spectacularly to cut down a tryline-bound Amone after a long Ramsay break. Not the quickest or most exciting rake going around, but a very capable footballer. Still not overly enthused about the message his immediate selection sends to young Otukolo. 6.5

18 ELIESA KATOA: Little to report from a mere 15 minutes of game-time. Two runs, nine tackles. Not a good sign for the tyro that he was afforded a bit-part role when Murchie got a full 80. 3

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