General Hohaia's Trouble Getting Off The Hook

Jesbass_old

Guest
From www.nzherald.co.nz:

Lance Hohaia says it with all the enthusiasm of disgraced Panther Craig Gower contemplating a social dinner with Wayne Pearce.

In between the club-approved cliches - "I'm happy about it" and "I enjoy it there" - Hohaia also lets slip his predicament.

"At the moment I'm resigned to the fact hooker is where I'm going to be playing," the 22-year-old said, not exactly jumping through hoops ahead of a new season at the Warriors.

Hohaia has always considered himself a halfback, even though there's a groundswell of opinion that he's more naturally suited to playing at hooker. Warriors coach Ivan Cleary certainly thinks so and has made no secret of the fact Nathan Fien will take over the coveted No 7 jersey vacated by Stacey Jones.

Hohaia is an accomplished player. He's a talented runner out of dummy-half, is a good ball distributor, has a tidy kicking game and doesn't shirk from tackling the behemoths of the NRL who take pleasure at running at the little guys.

He's also a player that clearly benefits from having the ball in his hand, which hooker allows, and has grown in stature in the pivotal position. There's just that one nagging doubt: "I just think I'm more naturally a halfback," Hohaia explained. "It's probably because I've played there all my life and it's a position I think I can slip back into quite easily. It's ingrained in me."

Cleary will know, then, that he has a ready, and certainly willing, replacement should Fien be unavailable. But for now Hohaia is getting to grips with his role in 2006. After all, there's not much he can do about it and he'd prefer to be on the park than parked on the bench.

Last season Hohaia lived a schizophrenic existence under Tony Kemp. He started at stand-off, moved to halfback for one game and then shifted to hooker for the last half of the season.

The breakthrough appeared to come in the 24-16 round 17 loss at North Queensland when he found the confidence to back himself to take on the line. He then probably had his best game of the season in his two-try performance in the dramatic 24-22 win over the Roosters a fortnight later before injury ended his NRL season prematurely.

Hohaia slotted into hooker but played only half a game in the thrilling 38-28 win over Australia in the opening game of the Tri-Nations when he was forced from the field with what looked like a serious ankle injury. He returned at halfback to take on England, only to injure his other ankle scoring the match-winning try.

It meant he missed out on playing in the 24-0 demolition of Australia in the Tri-Nations final, which left him feeling somewhat removed from the Kiwis' success.

"It was a bittersweet occasion. I was glad I came home but watching the game was pretty hard," Hohaia recalled this week, before adding a little more enthusiastically, "hopefully there will be many more years of that to come."

Kiwi league fans would echo those thoughts after years of underachievement.

This year, though, is all about developing as a hooker and staying injury-free after three seasons blighted by end-of-season surgery.

"The main thing is I need to be playing hooker regularly to help me understand the role as best as I can," he said. "It's good to know where I will be playing because I was uncertain last year."

Hohaia clearly has misgivings but, much like the Warriors in 2006, it's all about moving with the times.


The ho-down

Lance Hohaia
Age: 22
Warriors debut: Cowboys April 2002.
Warriors appearances: 72

Did you know
* Hohaia has played seven tests for the Kiwis having played at both halfback and hooker.
* A dairy on the main drag in Huntly has built a shrine to Hohaia, complete with pictures.
* Former Warriors and Kiwis coach Daniel Anderson gave Hohaia the nickname Frodo.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
Hehe ta-a for posting that. Great read. I don't know if he actually likes that nickname now :p
 

AliN_old

Guest
Still think he's a great halfback, and Fein a good hooker.
Cleary knows best.
 

edguy_old

Guest
Frodo for halfback.....im sure he will be there after about round 3 or 4 ...running the team ....go the baginsesssssss
 

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