General Quality lock to complete 2007 puzzle

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warriors4life_old

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From www.nzherald.co.nz

By Michael Brown

When the Warriors tore up Sione Faumuina's contract this week after a series of alcohol-related incidents, they rid themselves of one problem but created another.

As much as Faumuina brought unwanted attention to the club, he was undoubtedly a quality player and the Warriors will have to dip back into the transfer market for a replacement.

They thought they had finalised their 2007 first team squad when winger Michael Crockett put pen to paper a fortnight ago, but the departure of Faumuina has left a big hole. The 25-year-old had one year left on his deal and his sacking has freed up a significant amount of money, believed to be about $270,000 a season.

Finding an able replacement, however, is easier said than done.

A scan through the list of players who are still not contracted for the 2007 season reveals slim pickings as far as top-class, mobile, ball-playing locks are concerned.

The Warriors are in no rush to fill the vacancy, comfortable in the knowledge they picked up Micheal Luck after last season had finished (he's one of only two Warriors to play all games this season), and believe they have a variety of options available to them.

They could go for a player like Henry Perenara, who is off contract with the Eels at the end of the season, put their hope in a youngster like Sonny Fai, who is replacing Awen Guttenbeil in the first-grade squad of 25 next season, or save the money for next year's recruitment drive.

The latter option might even afford allow them to bring in a marquee player for 2008 - when the club has set the target of replicating what they did in 2002 when they won the minor premiership and were beaten in the grand final.

"It wasn't something we planned and we will have to reassess the situation but there are a few options," chief executive Wayne Scurrah said. "We will assess whether there's an opportunity for a young player, a local guy, someone in the Bartercard Cup, an up-and-coming Australian or someone at a [UK] Super League club. We're not panicking and it will be a decision driven by the football department."

It seems logical they would bring in an experienced player, considering they have only four loose forwards - Wairangi Koopu, Micheal Luck, Epalahame Lauaki and Louis Anderson - with first-grade experience.

Perenara has some history with the club. He made his NRL debut with the Warriors in 2000 and has since moved to the Storm and Dragons before finishing up at the Eels. Scurrah is well aware that the 26-year-old is coming off contract, as is his younger brother Marcus, who is a halfback.

"Our preference is to get a Kiwi and, ideally, it would be someone coming through the local system or the development squad but because we are losing such an experienced player at such short notice it might be more difficult," Scurrah said.

There are potentially Kiwi options in the Super League and within the club. Lauaki has recently returned from a serious shoulder injury and hopes are high in the club he could become a devastating forward.

Likewise, Simon Mannering, who has been impressive at centre, has already been touted by coach Ivan Cleary as a good, ball-playing loose forward - in time.

Development squad member Wayne McDade, who has spent the season with Bartercard Cup leaders Mt Albert, is tipped to have a big future and could come into the reckoning.

Putting together a first-grade squad is a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. They thought they had completed that particular puzzle for 2007 but now need to find the last piece.

Possible options for the Warriors:

Henry Perenara (Eels)

He had one season with the Warriors and made his NRL debut with them in 2000 before moving to the Storm (2001-02), Dragons (2003-04) and now the Eels (2005-06). In total, he's played 63 NRL games and is considered a hard-working yet ball-playing lock. He has had limited opportunities at the Eels behind skipper Nathan Hindmarsh, Daniel Wagon, Glenn Morrison and Dean Widders and has made only three appearances for the Eels this season and 11 for the club in total. Perenara turned down an offer to join the Wests Tigers and is currently in talks with a club in France but, according to his agent Frank Endacott, would jump at the chance to return to Auckland.

Sonny Fai (Warriors)

The 18-year-old has yet to make his NRL debut but there are high hopes within the club the youngster will develop into a star of the future. Already 192cm and 105kg, Fai has played New Zealand residents (2005), Junior Kiwis (2004-05), New Zealand under-18 (2004) and New Zealand under-16 (2003). Despite his young age, he's reputed to be one of the strongest of all the players at the club.

Simon Mannering (Warriors)

Just turned 20, Mannering made his NRL debut last season and has now gone on to play 22 games in his short career. A tall and powerful player, the Nelsonian kept Clinton Toopi out of the side this season but he seems destined to shift to the forwards eventually, considering it is where he played most of his rugby league following his late conversion from rugby union.
 

warriors4life_old

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I don't think we need a new buy, with so few players on the market, this is a chance to blood someone like Sonny Fai. Also, it means we may have more money to spend next year for players in 2008.
 

Jesbass_old

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I don't know why he didn't mention Awen Guttenbeil as an option. If Castleford get relegated, that's a very real possibility.
 

-Dr.J-_old

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But they're not getting relegated. I'd prefer a hooker if possible, cos isn't Fai part of the squad already?

I think we're good for forwards, definitely good for backs, unless Aidan Kirk or Crockett can play hooker I think we need more backup there.
 

sliphgrrl_old

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-Dr.J- said:
But they're not getting relegated. I'd prefer a hooker if possible, cos isn't Fai part of the squad already?

I think we're good for forwards, definitely good for backs, unless Aidan Kirk or Crockett can play hooker I think we need more backup there.

we've already got Fien, Gatis and Hohaia as hookers. how many more do we need? (genuine question)
 

missing teeth_old

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Try Mannering at lock and Fai in the centers. Fai looks out of his depth in the forwards at batercard level but put him at center and he can cause abit more havoc.

and then we can buy sonny bill :)
 

Jesbass_old

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-Dr.J- said:
But they're not getting relegated.

I thought that was only made certain on the weekend? This article was posted here on Saturday evening England time, so I'm assuming it was still a possibility at that time. *shrugs*
 

commonsense_old

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missing teeth said:
Try Mannering at lock and Fai in the centers. Fai looks out of his depth in the forwards at batercard level but put him at center and he can cause abit more havoc.

and then we can buy sonny bill :)

thats an interesting idea!!
but mannering would have to bulk up a bit to slot in the forwards. i reckon put on 5-7kg.

also i always liked henry perenara. wouldnt mind him in the team at all
 

warriorfaithful*_old

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missing teeth said:
Try Mannering at lock and Fai in the centers.

Yeah i agree with you. Put mannering and at lock and that frees up a space in the centres for someone like sonny fai or our new signing micheal crockett.
 

Jesbass_old

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commonsense said:
missing teeth said:
Try Mannering at lock and Fai in the centers. Fai looks out of his depth in the forwards at batercard level but put him at center and he can cause abit more havoc.

and then we can buy sonny bill :)

thats an interesting idea!!
but mannering would have to bulk up a bit to slot in the forwards. i reckon put on 5-7kg.

also i always liked henry perenara. wouldnt mind him in the team at all

Also, as much as we hate to admit it, that would be putting Mannering in a less favourable position. In Issue Six of SuperLeague Magazine, he says of Bartercard: "I had a spell in the second row but I'm really a centre".

I'm not a fan of mix-and-match lineups.
 

-Dr.J-_old

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I think Mannering is like a tougher version of Ashley Harrison. You can't deny the guy runs like a forward. Prolly not ball playing enough for a centre, but enough for a lock. Hey I like the guy a lot, but I know his future is in the forwards especially with the balance of this team.


I don't think Hohaia is correctly motivated at hooker. I think he won't be happy until he's in the halves. So bearing that in mind I prefer not to think of him as a hooker.. It shows when we'd rather play him at centre and play no bench hooker at all with a winger on the bench...

Toddy's played centre before... Very well in fact... In my opinion his best position if people have any memory of 05.....
 

commonsense_old

Guest
Jesbass said:
commonsense said:
missing teeth said:
Try Mannering at lock and Fai in the centers. Fai looks out of his depth in the forwards at batercard level but put him at center and he can cause abit more havoc.

and then we can buy sonny bill :)

thats an interesting idea!!
but mannering would have to bulk up a bit to slot in the forwards. i reckon put on 5-7kg.

also i always liked henry perenara. wouldnt mind him in the team at all

Also, as much as we hate to admit it, that would be putting Mannering in a less favourable position. In Issue Six of SuperLeague Magazine, he says of Bartercard: "I had a spell in the second row but I'm really a centre".

I'm not a fan of mix-and-match lineups.

oh really? didnt know that. yeh i like to see players in the favoured positions.
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
commonsense said:
Jesbass said:
commonsense said:
missing teeth said:
Try Mannering at lock and Fai in the centers. Fai looks out of his depth in the forwards at batercard level but put him at center and he can cause abit more havoc.

and then we can buy sonny bill :)

thats an interesting idea!!
but mannering would have to bulk up a bit to slot in the forwards. i reckon put on 5-7kg.

also i always liked henry perenara. wouldnt mind him in the team at all

Also, as much as we hate to admit it, that would be putting Mannering in a less favourable position. In Issue Six of SuperLeague Magazine, he says of Bartercard: "I had a spell in the second row but I'm really a centre".

I'm not a fan of mix-and-match lineups.

oh really? didnt know that. yeh i like to see players in the favoured positions.

Yeah. Neither did I, until a few days ago! :lol:
 

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