There is nothing quite like the old days, so sit back and take a look as kiwileaguecentral.com’s Andrew Marmont checks out this week in Warriors history.
2002: Scoring for fun
Deep in the annals of history, long before North Queensland won the competition, the Cowboys were once one of the whipping boys of the NRL. In the Warriors’ first twelve matches against the Queensland side they had managed four wins totalling more than 40 points, with two breaking the half-century mark.
In the glorious beginnings of the 2002 season, when 2016 Warrior Ali Lauitiiti was in his heyday, popping passes and running like a winger, his team racked up a 50-20 win at the Willows Ground (now called 1300SMILES Stadium).
Ivan Cleary kicked 8 from 8, Stacey Jones 1 from 1, with most of the backline getting on the scoresheet (John Carlaw, Clinton Toopi, Lance Hohaia, Cleary and Jones with two tries), plus a couple of the bench forwards too (Sione Faumuina and Mark Tookey). Other big wins over North Queensland included 52-6 (1996), 50-22 (1997) and 44-12 (2000).
2002: The Huntly Hurricane emerges
Lance Hohaia burst onto the scene with the Warriors in 2002. Photo: photosport.nz
Lance Hohaia had already played an international team before he played for the Warriors. Yes, the little bloke from Waikato represented Northern Districts against the 2001 French tourists. In Round 4, 2002, he played at five-eighth in his Warriors debut in the above match against the Cowboys.
Hohaia would go on to play 185 matches for the Auckland-based team, playing fullback, centre, five-eighth and hooker. Even though he transitioned into a safe and versatile No.1 for most of his latter career, five-eighth was where he enjoyed the most success. He made his Test debut for the Kiwis later in 2002 alongside Stacey Jones against Australia in Wellington (a 28-10 loss). Check out Hohaia’s recent interview with Warriors TV here.
2005: The skinny on Skinny
Stinging like a butterfly, running like a man chased by bees, Todd Byrne had already sprinted for four seasons with the Sydney Roosters, gaining notoriety as a speedster and a good finisher. He joined the Warriors with such a reputation. After he made his club debut in Round 3, 2005, he would go on to score at least a try in 12 of the next 13 games. He finished with 14 tries that year, a fluorescent light where the next highest try-scorer was nine.
Andrew has loved rugby league all his life. He has written on sport for a number of years, for magazines such as Rugby League Week, NZ Rugby World, Rugby League Review and NZ League Magazine. He has just written his first book, which will be published in 2017.
This article first appeared on http://www.kiwileaguecentral.com