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Marks out of 10 after an undeniably frustrating, still encouraging and injury-hit Easter Sunday night in Newcastle, the Warriors going down 34-24 to the Knights. Another five-star display from their revitalised halfback, a stellar performance from a lionhearted fullback and a breakout game from a young prop who has been frothing for this type of opportunity were massive individual takeaways – and then’s there’s the perpetual riddle that is Adam Pompey.

1 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD: Another inspirational and dynamic display from the gutsy custodian. Ran for a game-high 245 metres (71 post-contact), had a powerful try denied by Pompey’s obstruction, produced a great offload to help set up Kosi’s four-pointer and made a huge impact being moved closer to the action for the last 15 minutes, brilliantly laying on a try for Jackson Ford. 8

2 ED KOSI: A couple of frustrating errors and a poor defensive miss in the lead-up to opposite number Greg Marzhew scoring the first of his two tries. Ran for 192 metres on 13 carries – inflated by a long-range intercept charge that saved a try and almost netted one at the other end – and scored his fourth try of 2023 in fine style during the second half. Still plenty of positives in an up-and-down night, but probably the slight favourite to drop out if DWZ is brought back into the Round 7 line-up. 6

3 VILIAMI VAILEA: Had some good defensive moments after struggling in that department last week and had 115 metres from 15 runs (three tackle-breaks). Ran some good, tough lines on attack but was well-handled by the Knights, while he showed sizzling pace to help round out a runaway Lachlan Miller. A step in the right direction. 6.5

4 ADAM POMPEY: The definition of a mixed day from the Warriors’ most confounding player. The good: a superb double combining with Shaun Johnson off scrum wins – the second putting on some breathtaking footwork – and threw the last pass for Kosi’s try, along with forcing a line dropout with a deft kick, and running for 129 metres with a game-high six tackle-breaks. Those standout moments would have constituted his best-ever game for the club, had it not been for the bad: a dreadful handling error early on while the Warriors were hot on attack, a senseless obstruction that cost his team a try (and led to a vital Knights try in the next set) and a shocking defensive decision as Marzhew effectively sealed the result with 10 minutes left. 6

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Hard-running as ever with 140 metres on 15 carries, but overall not the performance he would have wanted with a Test winger demanding to come back into the side. The decision to jam in on Dane Gagai allowed Dominic Young to score the opening try, while his clumsy play-the-ball stopped the Warriors’ comeback in its tracks and led to Kurt Mann’s critical try with 16 minutes left. 5

6 TE MAIRE MARTIN: Left the field six minutes into the second half after almost scoring a try with what looked potentially like a long-term leg injury. Asked plenty of questions of the Knights up to that point in his return from a week off due to concussion. 6

7 SHAUN JOHNSON: If the Warriors went on with the comeback, SJ scoops another six Dally M votes. Two beautiful, near-identical try assists for Pompey off scrums wins, threw the last pass for CNK’s denied try and had a key hand in the movement that saw Kosi score. Again magnificent in defence – 15 tackles, no misses – while his kicking game was on another plane, mixing up the standard high balls with some pinpoint kicks to the corner and two forced line dropouts in an absolute clinic. Also an outstanding four-from-four off the tee to pass 1,000 points for the club. Proved once more he doesn’t necessarily have to run the ball regularly to have a blinder. Gave away an inside the 10 penalty in the first half. 8.5

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Nondescript opening foray as the ill-disciplined Warriors struggled to get on the front foot but played with much more authority during his 17-minute second stint and finished with 151 metres from 16 carries, had seven passes and made 24 tackles. 6.5

9 WAYDE EGAN: Real concerns for the star rake after another concussion exit. Solid shift until he was forced off in the dying stages of the first half, making 22 tackles and three dummy-half runs. 6

10 BUNTY AFOA: More minutes than some games this season – 20 minutes in his first stint and 13 in his second – but still sparingly used given the Warriors’ attrition rate. Made 20 tackles without a miss but a return of just three hit-ups does not bode especially well for big Bunty when the forward contingent is back to full strength, particularly with Tom Ale playing out of his skin. 4.5

11 JACKSON FORD: Two penalties for overzealous play proved crucial as the Knights got out to a big lead and had a handling error. Big defensive effort with 36 tackles and high work-rate on attack with 13 runs for 115 metres, rewarded with a barnstorming late try. 7

15 JOSH CURRAN: Promoted to start in a late change and was massive in defence in an 80-minute performance, topping the tackle count with 58 on top of 10 runs for 89 metres. Gave away one of many maddening penalties during the first half and had a handling error. 6.5

16 JAZZ TEVAGA: Given another start at lock and worked himself to a standstill with 43 tackles and 12 runs for 111 metres across the first 67 minutes, at which exhausted point he was unable to come up with the tackle as Kurt Mann scored under the posts. A penalty and a handling error against his name. 6.5


12 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Initially named in the second-row but ultimately played 42 minutes off the bench – all at dummy-half. Gave sound service and reeled off 24 tackles as the stopgap but zero running metres. 6

14 DYLAN WALKER: Again played mutiple positions and was hyper-involved whether in the back-row or in the halves, busy in a playmaking role on top of 14 runs for 111 metres and 31 tackles. A penalty conceded and a handling error made. 7

17 TOM ALE: Receiving the opportunity to play some big minutes, Ale took it with both hands in a breakout performance. In 46 minutes on the paddock the tyro led all forwards with 155 metres on 14 carries and made 31 tackles without a miss. A ruck infringement was the only mark against his name. Has entrenched himself in the 17 and showed he can become a central figure in Andrew Webster’s prop rotation. 8

20 TAINE TUAUPIKI: A late bench addition, the rookie played the last 16 minutes at fullback and looked dangerous with limited opportunities as the Warriors were in full catch-up mode. Oozes first-grader. 5.5

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