Good signs in Warriors first hit-out
Feb 13, 2006
By Dale Budge at North Harbour Stadium
The Warriors have started their NRL pre-season with a 28-16 loss at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday but new coach Ivan Cleary will be able to take plenty from the hit-out.
While the scoreboard doesn't count for too much in pre-season matches, the Warriors failed to execute at the business end of the paddock and as a result were left behind where the game counts.
"It is good to get the first one out of the way - it obviously wasn't the result we wanted," Cleary told reporters after the match.
"I thought most of the game we created a lot of opportunities but over excitement and rust didn't allow us to finish it."
Despite all of that, there were some very good signs, particularly with a handful of impressive individual performances.
Most notably was that of centre-come-fullback Tony Martin, who got through his first game unscathed after a neck injury that almost cost him his career.
Martin bagged a try and kicked two out of three conversion attempts while getting involved from the back.
Also impressing was front-rower George Tuakura, who is yet to play a first grade match for the club.
With Steve Price and Ruben Wiki sitting the match out Tuakura started the game alongside Evarn Tuimavave and the pair got the side off to a terrific start.
Tuakura made yards up the middle of the park, showed good footwork for someone his size and made a number of telling offloads.
Other players to impress were second-rower Michael Luck, hooker/stand-off Grant Rovelli and winger Cooper Vuna, who scored a brilliant individual try.
The much publicised halves pairing of Nathan Fien and Sione Faumuina was hardly able to get any game time together as Faumuina left after 20 minutes with a shoulder problem.
"Sione had a bit of a shoulder niggle so he came off," Cleary said. Chopping and changing makes it hard but on an individual basis I thought quite a few guys played well.
"Today was a chance to have a look at some of the things we didn't do well."
The Warriors travel to Cairns in North Queensland to take on the Cowboys and then to the Gold Coast where they play the Bulldogs in the next two weeks before the season proper starts March 12 against Melbourne.