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A host of contenders for best-on-ground and vastly improved individual displays in this week’s Kingz Container Crew player ratings after what was ultimately a dominant 30-8 defeat of the Dolphins in Auckland.

1 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD: One of the Warriors’ top-tier performers once again. Under pressure at the back only rarely, CNK instead played a prominent role on attack, constantly sniffing around the ruck and eventually finishing with a line-break and two key try involvements (and would’ve had a try assist but for a frustrating obstruction). A ball-carrying beast with 17 runs for 178 metres and made four tackle-breaks, while 23 passes is surely a season-high by a mile for the rock-solid custodian. 8

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK: In a real purple patch, bagging his second consecutive double after having a sensational finish early in the second half foiled by an obstruction. Brilliant intercept for his runaway second, which eventually gave him a team-high 199 metres (48 post-contact) from 15 runs. Made three errors and opposite Tesi Niu scored when he was a long way infield, but DWZ’s high-octane contributions made up for his shortcomings. 7.5

3 ROCCO BERRY: A couple of promising early touches before a chilling head knock ended his night 13 minutes in. A likely scratching for next week, which may make it hard to force his way back into the team after only making his first 2023 appearance last week. 4

4 ADAM POMPEY: Put his attacking gifts on show on a couple of occasions – he boasts an innate ability to skip to the outside and draw a winger in – but nothing too great tonight. A line-break assist and nine runs for 81 metres, plus 15 tackles. Good enough. 6

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Made a line-break and 11 runs for 105 metres despite spending 15 minutes off the field for an HIA, but was all at sea after coming back into the fray. Repeatedly skinned by opposing winger Jamayne Isaako, finally punished for giving him too much room via a late try. Gave away two penalties, while a hyper-cautious decision to bat the ball into touch led to the Dolphins’ first-half try. 5

6 LUKE METCALF: Looked more comfortable in all departments in his second NRL game for the club, combining reasonably well with his left-edge cohorts and finding himself in space a couple of times – most notably to streak away for a crucial try. Encouragingly defensively with 28 stops. More needed to keeping Te Maire Martin out when he returns, however, with the Metcalf hype train slowing noticeably in the past fortnight. 6.5

7 SHAUN JOHNSON: By no means anywhere near the bulk of his 2023 outings from a completeness perspective, but SJ dialled up the individual brilliance to score two superb and vital solo tries. Kick-started several movements that came desperately close to producing tries and another that finally did garner a four-pointer, while also had a line-break assist. Fifth-tackle plays weren’t overly flash, but five-from-five off the tee, six tackle-breaks and yet another huge defensive performance (27 tackles) made it a night to remember for the off-contract star. 8

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Maybe not the same kind of explosive impact we’ve seen in recent weeks (aside from a booming hit late on Mark Nicholls in the first half), but another huge 65-minute effort from the marquee prop: 17 runs for 172 metres (78 post-contact) and 30 tackles without a miss. Elite. 8

9 WAYDE EGAN: Played 74 minutes in his return and was integral to the win. Egan’s instinct for when to run from dummy-half is second to none and he constantly caused the Dolphins headaches, racking up two line-break assists and seven runs for 70 metres. The Warriors’ attack with and without him is like day and night. Also made 38 tackles – and a big relief to see him get through the match unscathed for one of the few times in 2023 (and great to see him at Mt Smart with our friends at Kingz Container Crew sponsoring the Warriors’ No.9 jersey at home games this season). 8

10 BUNTY AFOA: Just 28 minutes split over an opening 21-minute stint and seven minutes at the end. Six runs for 56 metres, while he conceded a penalty and came up with an ordinary cold drop in the latter stages. Solid on D with 22 tackles (no misses). 5

11 JACKSON FORD: Hardworking as with 14 runs for 102 and 38 tackles (an an uncustomarily low one miss), though perhaps not quite the same kind of obvious impact we’re accustomed to. Decent 80-minute shift, though. 6.5

12 MARATA NIUKORE: A rush-of-blood centring kick after making a break down the touchline, a subsequent error after making a half-bust and a bumbling obstruction that denied the Warriors a try were notable negatives, but Niukore enjoyed his most dynamic and industrious performance for the club to date. Twelve runs for 146 metres included two line-breaks, a try assist and three tackle-breaks, while he chalked up 33 tackles in an action-packed 80-minute shift. 7.5

13 TOHU HARRIS: Could afford to be a bit more understated, but nevertheless chewed through 11 runs for 110 metres and a team-high 40 tackles (no misses), while he was busy as ever ball-playing in middle in 74 minutes on the park. Super solid. 7


15 JOSH CURRAN: Pitched into Berry’s spot just 13 minutes in and came up with arguably one of the better centre performances for the Warriors this year. Made a line-break, coolly sent DWZ in for his first try, made 81 metres from seven runs and came up with a number of big defensive plays among 22 tackles. That sort of versatility is a big tick for Curran when the injured troops return and the selection squeeze gets tighter. 7.5

16 MITCHELL BARNETT: Wow, what a performance up front after 11 weeks on the sideline recovering from a worrying neck injury. Showed absolutely no signs of being tentative or underdone, powering through 147 metres on 15 runs (including a line-break) and 29 tackles with enforcer vibes oozing out of him in 51 minutes on the park. Should have had a try assist but instead threw an intercept after backing up Egan to stride into the clear – otherwise outstanding, though, and already stamped himself as the second-best prop in the club. 8

17 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Got 33 minutes off the pine, most of it on the edge rather than hooker. Had a lovely line-break assist part in Metcalf’s try, and made four runs and 16 tackles, but was stung for a ball-plant in the latter stages. 6

18 TOM ALE: Surprisingly axed before getting a reprieve thanks to Dylan Walker’s withdrawal. Only given 16 minutes in an interesting middle rotation from Andrew Webster, but got stuck in with five runs for 56 metres. 5

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