TWL is staying on the road tonight so there’s no full match report, but there’s always time for the Kingz Container Crew Warriors player ratings – especially after an absolute carve-up like tonight’s 46-10 thrashing of Parramatta.
The first patchy and error-strewn first quarter of the match suggested we were in for a nervy contest with the undermanned Eels, but the Warriors started to punish Eels turnovers and tear the hosts up through the middle to pile on four tries in the last 15 minutes before halftime.
Up 30-4 at the break, the second half was a cruise to the finish line, posting another three tries to the Eels’ one to complete their equal-biggest victory since 2014.
The emphatic win provides a handy for-and-against kicker and will see the Warriors finish the weekend in seventh, two clear of the Eels, and still knocking on the door of the top four ahead of two huge swing games in Auckland against Cronulla and Canberra over the next fortnight before their last bye.
1 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD: Faultless at the back, huge work-rate with 19 runs for 178 metres and constantly pushing up in support through the middle and chiming into backline moves, passing the footy 15 times. 7.5
2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZIAK: Trademark quality finish for his 13th try of the season, ran hard as ever for 142 metres on 15 carries. Poor play-the-ball error early on, but the other two errors he was credited for weren’t really his fault. Solid showing. 7
3 ROCCO BERRY: Nice try assist but a couple of very dusty passes that turned over possession and two errors. Only seven runs for 63 metres and – not sure if this take will get much traction – but from where I’m sitting you won’t many less natural, instinctual players getting a regular NRL run in the centres. Thirteen tackles, five misses. Borrowed time. 6
4 ADAM POMPEY: A colossal six errors – most of them were in the air and a tad unlucky…but still. Not a great deal else to get excited about except for a nice touch to send Montoya in for his first, chalking up just six runs for 50 metres. Looking increasingly unlikely he will secure another deal at the club and only a dearth of options are guaranteeing his place in the side week-to-week. 5
5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Blockbusting first-half double, 14 runs for 160 metres, error-free and a one excellent in-goal escape. Very good night out for Marcelo. 7.5
6 LUKE METCALF: Sparkling first-half in what could be viewed as a coming-of-age display in the NRL, bookending the key pass in both of Montoya’s tries with solo four-pointers of his own from close range. Put Jackson Ford into space on a long run with a lovely short ball on the play before he scored the opener. Went oh-so-close to a first-half hat-trick, winning the race to a Johnson kick but failing to plant it. Took on a bit of the kicking load and made a team-high six tackle-breaks. A bit quiet in the second half, but word has come through from the KCC brass (who were cheering themselves hoarse at CommBank Stadium) that the 24-year-old should get the man-of-the-match nod tonight. 8.5
7 SHAUN JOHNSON: Huge boost to have the linchpin on deck and make his 200th appearance for the club. Not quite at the masterclass level he’s produced for most of the year, but an influential presence nonetheless. Had a direct involvement in three tries, ran 13 times for 92 metres, kicked soundly in general play and seven-from-eight off the tee. Stood up by Simonsson for the Eels’ first try but made 26 tackles and his kick-pressure and kick-chase was a feature all night. 7.5
8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: The dominant starting front-rower on the park with 15 runs for 167 metres (83 post-contact) in 61 powerful minutes, plus 26 tackles. One error. A regular handful. 7.5
9 WAYDE EGAN: Wonderful hour-long shift from one of the best No.9s in the business. Sparkling dummy-half service was crucial to the Warriors’ first three tries, before his brilliant half-break and offload to Harris set up the fourth. Then put Barnett over for his first in the second half. Made 32 tackles. 8
10 BUNTY AFOA: A pair of 18-minute stints, which returned seven runs for 64 metres and – more impressively – 28 tackles without a miss. Decent without shining. 6
11 JACKSON FORD: Close to his best in the NRL. Big early bust in the lead-up to the first try and was an absolute handful on the edge all night, topping the run-metres tally with 194 on 17 carries. Also racked up 33 tackles in another action-packed display. One error and one penalty, as per. 8.5
15 MITCH BARNETT: A second-half double – muscling over from close range on both occasions – was the headline, but a superb all-round performance from the fair-haired enforcer. Steamed through a hole to make a long break seconds before his first try, chewed off 18 runs for 183 metres and made 29 tackles in 63 minutes on the paddock. A force on the edge and in the middle. 8.5
13 TOHU HARRIS: Massive influence on the first 55 minutes of the match before hobbling off with a leg complaint. Supported Egan to charge into open space in the lead-up to Metcalf’s second and delivered a lovely short ball for Walker to score. Came back on for a short stint and finished with 17 runs for 165 metres and 31 tackles. 8
14 DYLAN WALKER: Big concerns over a possible forearm break, but what a contribution in 40 minutes off the bench. Had a hand in Montoya’s first, pierced through to score from a Harris pass just before the break and delivered a deft ball to put Barnett into space in the second half, leading to another try. On top of that, 11 runs for 117 metres and 30 tackles. 8
16 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Nothing too much to report from 33 minutes on the edge, making four runs for 37 tackles and 16 tackles (six misses). Filling a spot adequately, but only a couple of fit players from dropping out of the 17 – and unlikely to be retained for 2024 you would think. 5
16 TOM ALE: Bit more time for the tyro this week and made the most of his 29 minutes, racking up seven runs for 67 metres and 20 tackles. Fine effort. 6.5
17 FREDDY LUSSICK: Thrived in getting the last 20 minutes at dummy-half, putting Barnett over for his second and working hard on both sides of the ball for a team running downhill. 6