General Ta'ai Set To Leave Warriors

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Tyrael

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Link NZ Herald

Blockbusting second rower Ukuma Ta'ai is set to leave the Warriors at the end of this season, with the Mt Smart club deciding not to renew his contract.
It is understood that Ta'ai, 25, would have preferred to stay in Auckland but the Warriors have been unable to find a place for him in their roster, given their surfeit of forward riches. His destination in 2013 is still to be finalised, but there are said to be four NRL clubs as well as several Superleague outfits chasing his signature.
"I can confirm that Ukuma won't be at the Warriors next season," his agent Peter Brown told the Herald on Sunday.
Ta'ai, who came through the junior grades at the Mt Albert Lions, made his NRL debut in round three of 2009 and has since clocked up 50 appearances (seven tries). He flitted between first grade and the Vulcans last year but performed strongly in several important matches.
It would have been a tough call for the Warriors, as Ta'ai is one of the hardest players to tackle at the club and is particularly mobile for a big (105kg) man. He is tough to the point of being fearless, has the ability to offload and is a strong, punishing defender. On the debit side, he can get exposed on the edge of the ruck and is sometimes susceptible to handling lapses.
Ta'ai was one of just 12 players to feature in all of the first 10 matches of this season, though he was used mainly off the interchange bench, averaging around 26 minutes playing time with five hit-ups and 13 tackles per game and a total of 10 tackle breaks and one try.
After a barnstorming performance against the Roosters in round 10, blighted by his concession of two late penalties, he was not selected in the 17 for the clashes with the Broncos and Tigers. He was originally named for the Vulcans earlier this week but later withdrawn from the line-up and didn't feature in their 26-18 loss to the Sharks yesterday.
Many league pundits would like to see Ta'ai used at prop but, with the Warriors' 'famous four' (Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Jacob Lillyman and Russell Packer) and this season's emergence of Sione Lousi, that was always an unlikely prospect.
Instead he has been used in the back row but like Lewis Brown earlier this year has now found himself surplus to requirements.
 
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playdaball

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His form this year as not been as good as it should have been. He may do well at another club.

With Luck, Brown, Ta'ai, Inu, Maloney set to leave (or gone as per Inu) and only Neilsen and TL coming in .... who'll fill the gaps? Hopefully not U20s as the 5 departing players would have almost 500 FG games between them.
 
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Sir Bluey

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Cleary would be talking to Gus about him no doubt!
 
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Wellington Warrior

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We are slowly going from having a overload of back rowers to having not many... god help us if we get injuries.

Same with the outside backs with Ropo gone for the season and Inu released. Any injuries and we are in a sticky spot!
 
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Magic Stick

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Cleary would be talking to Gus about him no doubt!
Yep my $$ is Tai'i signing with the Panthers...2nd choice the Storm. I think Tai'i in the Storm setup would be lethal
 
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Sup42

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This is a Surprise.

Says a lot about our new coach.

Things are not always what they seem....Ta'ai can't claim that he wasn't given the opportunity to prove himself. Smart move by the Warriors. There has to be a limit / a line drawn somewhere, as i say he had his shot / fair and square , good luck to him.
 
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Sup42

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His form this year as not been as good as it should have been. He may do well at another club.

With Luck, Brown, Ta'ai, Inu, Maloney set to leave (or gone as per Inu) and only Neilsen and TL coming in .... who'll fill the gaps? Hopefully not U20s as the 5 departing players would have almost 500 FG games between them.
It will be very interesting indeed if Room is being made for players from within. From Bluey's point of view if the Majority of positives / promise for the next two and a half years looks to be coming from the promotion of Johnson, Hurrell , and Henry....then it would seem on a three year contract as Coach...if your going to bring in more Jnrs....you might as well go all in now ?

A spin off of this is people would be more tempered in there expectations of a Premiership if by the end of year three a baby Warriors team looked placed to go close.....that scenario would bolster the Coaches chances of being kept on to see it through ?
 
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Lego_Man

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Toiletduck called this 3 years ago...
 
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¿N. ig-mah¿

¿N. ig-mah¿

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Not to upset with this one. There are many players who we need to retain before we consider offering any money to players like Ta'ai to stay. He will only ever be injury cover, and has not delivered on expectation.
 
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smac19

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Yep my $$ is Tai'i signing with the Panthers...2nd choice the Storm. I think Tai'i in the Storm setup would be lethal
def suit Storm game plan...robot who has 1 role to play...been given plenty of chances...players need to copy Sharkie...full throttle when coming on, make a difference...Lousi been average for me the last month...dont wanna see him go the Tai way
 
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fanrrior

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At the very least this should put a stop to all this five-props in the team crap.

In saying that I was and still a Ta'ai fan and wish him luck in his future Career
 
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bigstu

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overrated player for me he was always a backup player for injury cover . lauaki had more of an impact for the warriors than Ta'ai yet he never had the headlines Ta'ai had when he arrived at the warriors .
 
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wazzas

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no disrespect to Ukuma, but I believe this is a good decision. He may be quite lethal in attack, but his defense and ball handling can be quite poor and if we want to be a consistently top team we need our players to have maximum discipline and we have that in guys like Taylor and Benry in terms of backrowers. Next step for me is a decision to move Manu to the backrow as his errors are costing us big time.
 
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Moz

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Yep my $$ is Tai'i signing with the Panthers...2nd choice the Storm. I think Tai'i in the Storm setup would be lethal
yup I gotta agree with you on the Storm suiting him 100% MS , mutually beneficial for both parties as he would add a bit of steel to their pack, would be glad for the big fella if they picked him up
 
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22 BEAST

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He never lived up to the hype, wasn't he called the human cannonball or wrecking ball when first talked about?
 
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smac19

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overrated player for me he was always a backup player for injury cover . lauaki had more of an impact for the warriors than Ta'ai yet he never had the headlines Ta'ai had when he arrived at the warriors .
Luaki was a fav of mine even if he did cost us a few penalty's..true tongan terror..how many players did he give a slap in the face when they were marking him..true FOB wit the rat tail goin on
 
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warriors4life

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Yep my $$ is Tai'i signing with the Panthers...2nd choice the Storm. I think Tai'i in the Storm setup would be lethal
Given the Panthers salary cap issues I wonder if they have the $$ to even sign him.

He's been solid for us but is surplus to requirements at this point. Best of luck to him.
 
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Spence

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Here's hoping we retain Steve Rapira then, I really want to see him back in first grade.
 
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Sirpartyman

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Not unhappy to see him go,he hasn't lived up to my expectations. Will say I wasn't too unhappy with Brown going either but that was before luck retired.. Would love for him to do a back flip now.

Goooone.......

*Maloney
*Luck
*Inu
*Brown
*Ta'ai


A lot of Cap & experience gone. Were all 5 in the GF side? I still find it hard to come to terms with Jimmy leaving:(
Could the Warriors possible be building a war chest for SBW.... #JustSaying
 
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