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You just want to give them all a 10 after a win like that – but there was certainly a handful of brilliant contributors that were more integral than others to pulling that out of the fire.


1 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD: Exactly the reason we got him back. While it’s hard not to be wistful about Reece Walsh’s weekly carve-ups from the back for the Broncos, CNK perfectly suits this model of the Warriors and he was absolutely heroic today. So many tough carries among a game-high 203 metres (65 post-contact) and almost seemed to get harder to handle as the match wore on. Chimed in beautifully for Kosi’s try and faultless under the high in tricky conditions. First class. 8.5

2 ED KOSI: If there was one game that illustrated Kosi’s evolution as a footballer, it’s this one. Struggled in the first half with a couple of dropped kicks, only had a couple of runs and had opposite Mulitalo’s incessant chatter to contend with. Bounced back late in the opening 40 with a crucial grab under pressure and had an oustanding second half, producing his best and most crucial finish in the NRL to date to close the gap in the 55th minute, take several more tough catches and end up with 83 metres on 10 runs. After the type of start that has seen him crumble in the past, it was a wonderful response from big Ed. 6.5

3 VILIAMI VAILEA: Given an absolute bath by Jesse Ramien in the first half but was another to regroup and finish positively – if not with the big moments Kosi enjoyed. Chalked up 10 runs for 66 metres and 15 tackles (five misses). 5.5

4 ADAM POMPEY: Far from a standout but had a couple of standout moments. Superb hands in Kosi’s try, had some very good defensive stops among 14 tackles (one miss) in a tough match-up with Siosifa Talakai and was error-free. 6

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Perhaps not as impactful as usual and was part of a left edge that got torched for a large portion of the first half, but carried hard in the second half to finish with 100 metres on 10 runs and had no errors in a difficult day to be a winger. 6

6 RONALD VOLKMAN: A big learning experience for the young playmaker and one he should be proud of. Targetted in defence and got a couple of reads wrong but was brave nonetheless, while from three kicks the Warriors scored their first try and he forced a second-half line dropout. Had an HIA spell on the sideline and was replaced midway through the second half, but did little wrong. Will be better for the run. 6

7 SHAUN JOHNSON: Without SJ, the comeback doesn’t happen. He was the conductor throughout with a kicking game that was immaculate aside from a missed touch-finder, probed constantly during the Warriors’ rare attacking raids and pulled the trigger with superb passes to send Niukore and Curran over for tries, scored a solo try chasing up his own bomb and – again perhaps most impressively – was marvellous on defence with 24 tackles and only one miss. Ten runs for 66 metres and six-from-six with the boot will shut down the last remaining straw-clutching detractors, while his last-minute penalty goal was yet another addition to his unmatched catalogue of clutch moments. Capped it with one of the great post-match interviews. 9

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Overshadowed alarmingly in his first stint but was more effective in the second, finishing with nine runs for 90 metres and 24 tackles in 54 minutes on the paddock. 6

9 WAYDE EGAN: Probably on the second-tier of obvious standouts, but pulling off that win becomes a lot less likely without his class. In his first 80-minute game of the year and after a week off with concussion, Egan was near-flawless as the dummy-half orchestrator. Picked some key moments to run in the first half to finally get the Warriors on the front foot, followed up to score their first try – his fourth in as many 2023 appearances – while his service was key to the Warriors’ last two tries and he reeled off 40 tackles. A top-three hooker in the NRL based on the first five rounds of the season. Captain’s knock. 8

10 BUNTY AFOA: Another weird one as far as Bunty’s ongoing role in this team goes. His opening 19-minute stint featured 15 tackles but just one hit-up…and he went unused after being replaced. 5

11 JACKSON FORD: Had some issues trying to hold together a shaky left edge in the first half, while he also had an error, a penalty and an inside-10 metres six-again against his name in the first half. Another to bounce back superbly, though, finishing with an equal-team-high 41 tackles and nine tough carries for 64 metres with three tackle-breaks. 6.5

12 MARATA NIUKORE: A mixed bag to say the least! Coughed up the ball on the second tackle of the game, gave away a penalty that led to another Sharks try, ran a beautiful line off SJ to score a crucial try and got sin-binned in highly contentious circumstances – and that was just the first half. Less eventful second half but contributed very strongly, making seven runs for 70 metres and 28 tackles in what amounted to 60 minutes of game-time. 6.5

16 JAZZ TEVAGA: Given the circumstances and what his performance contributed to the win, this is up there with Jazzy’s greatest-ever shifts for the club. Standing in for Tohu, the terrier chewed through 152 metres from 17 runs (a whopping 62 and eight more, respectively, than any other Warriors forward) and made an equal-game-high 41 tackles with just one miss. Constantly involved and was an absolute leader. Impossible to imagine a Warriors 17 without his name in it now. 9


14 DYLAN WALKER: Surely has set a record for most minutes off the bench in a five-game stretch. Played 62 in this match and again made an enormous impact playing multiple positions. Overcame an injury scare to put up nine runs for 85 metres, help lay on Kosi’s try and make 27 tackles. Such a big part of what this team did today and what they’ve done this season to date. 7.5

15 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Initially came on for Volkman’s HIA and was thrust into a struggled left-side defence, but ultimately had some good moments in 36 minutes on the park. Five runs for 46 metres and 17 tackles with one miss. Probably misses a place in the 17 now at full-strength but a decent depth guy. 6

17 TOM ALE: Felt like he was out there for longer than 26 minutes, such was his impact. Dropping an ill-conceived pressure ball from Walker on attack was the only black mark in a very handy contribution, making eight runs for 65 metres and 12 tackles without a miss – an excellent return. 7

18 JOSH CURRAN: A late addition to the squad for Harris and made to wait more than an hour to be introduced, but man did he make an impact. Brought vital fresh legs and energy when the Warriors were on the ropes, then rocketed on to an SJ pass to barrel over for the equaliser and, in a trademark play, hounded after a loose ball and toed ahead to draw what was ultimately (however contentiously) the match-deciding penalty. Very hard to leave out now. 7

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