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The Warriors endured a brutal reintroduction to finals footy courtesy of a 32-6 loss at Penrith, struggling to compensate for the loss of Shaun Johnson in the club’s first post-season match in five years. Few genuine standouts in the Kingz Container Crew player ratings.

1 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD: Industrious as ever, leading the team with 175 metres from an enormous 24 runs. Beaten in defence a couple of times – including by To’o for the Panthers’ opener – and came up with a handling error. Tough day to be a fullback but was a couple of notches below his usual 2023 standard. 6.5

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK: Arguably the Warriors’ best, racking up 150 metres from 19 carries, making a team-high eight tackle-breaks and producing a superb pass to send Egan away for his team’s only try. Otherwise starved of the ball on attack but a ton of effort across the 80 minutes, despite a couple of errors. 7.5

3 ROCCO BERRY: Awful handling error – among three for the game – led to the Panthers’ second try, but redeemed himself somewhat with some wonderful defensive plays opposite Panthers dangerman Stephen Crichton and a lovely touch in the tryscoring movement. Poor reads in both of Turuva’s tries, however.  Finished with 23 tackles and 10 runs for 81 metres. 6

4 ADAM POMPEY: A veritable highlights package of why so many Warriors fans will never be able to get full on-board with A-Pomp. Slow and lackadaisical in defence, contributing heavily to three of the Panthers’ five tries, as well as giving away two penalties – one for the clumsiest decoy run of all time that denied a crucial early try for obstruction. Would (or should) be on the chopping block for next week if it was mid-season. Made 11 runs for 84 metres and 16 tackles (four misses). 4

5 MARCELO MONTOYA: Spilled a high ball to give the Panthers a set near the Warriors’ line, from which they scored the first try. Missed six tackles in a difficult day opposite Brian To’o and got bundled into touch on another occasion. Worked hard in yardage for 126 metres on 17 carries. 5

6 TE MAIRE MARTIN: Clearly struggled to step into SJ shoes as the senior playmaker. Battled kicking for distance or coming up with effective last-tackle plays on attack, while his only real standout ball-playing moment came as the Warriors had a try pulled back for obstruction. Courageous in defence with 25 tackles, shutting down some dangerous Panthers raids. 5.5

14 DYLAN WALKER: Hindsight’s 20/20, but picking Walker in the halves didn’t pay off. Kicking was below average, couldn’t spark the right-side attack, uncharacteristically missed eight tackles and gave away two penalties. His impact off the bench as a running forward and floating ball-player was missed, too. 5

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE: Solid, but probably the least authoritative display we’ve seen from AFB in some time. Finished with 133 metres from 15 runs, popped a couple of offloads and got through a mountain of defensive work in 59 minutes, making 33 tackles. 7

9 WAYDE EGAN: Made 52 tackles, got out of dummy-half regularly (eight runs for 84 metres) and backed up to score the Warriors’ only try after sparking the short-side raid near halfway. Couple of dusty passes. 7

10 MITCH BARNETT: Played a modest 39 minutes, chalking up 10 runs for 69 metres and 27 tackles. Some big desperation efforts in defence, including a brilliant diving catch to defuse a dangerous Panthers kick on his own tryline, and produced the offload to start the tryscoring movement. 6.5

11 JACKSON FORD: Played the full 80 and worked hard for 39 tackles, but one of his more forgettable performances of the season. Just 46 metres on eight runs, eight missed tackles as opposing second-rower Liam Martin ran riot, two handling errors and had the ball stripped, on top of an ill-conceived attempt to flick the ball to Tevaga when diving on the loose ball was the option. 5.5

12 MARATA NIUKORE: Another to get through a pile of defensive work with 32 tackles, Niukore was disappointingly quiet on attack with just five carries in 55 minutes of game-time without SJ to run off. 6

13 TOHU HARRIS: Mammoth 80-minute effort, making a game-high 56 tackles and still finding the energy to make 18 runs for 113 metres, on top of fulfilling the ball-playing lock role with 22 passes. 7.5


15 JAZZ TEVAGA: Execution didn’t match the exertion in 33 minutes across two stints off the bench. Two handling errors to with eight runs for 61 metres and 21 tackles (four misses). 5.5

16 BAYLEY SIRONEN: Got 34 minutes from the pine and soaked up plenty of defensive work with 27 tackles, as well as making five runs. 6

17 JOSH CURRAN: Frustratingly held back until the 55th minute and made an immediate impact, playing a leading hand in the Warriors’ only try. Five runs for 44 metres and 15 tackles in 25 minutes of game-time after replacing Niukore. 6.5

18 FREDDY LUSSICK: A baffling late addition and proved a wasted selection for a team that needed plenty from their bench, playing just nine minutes at hooker. 4

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