General Turn it up by Mr Dale Budge

sebastian_old

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Turn It Up
7/3/2006 - 7/3/2006 Rugby League commentator Dale Budge looks at how Jerome Ropati and Lance Hohaia's performance on Saturday might alter the look to the Warriors squad for 2007

Two players under pressure to secure places in Ivan Cleary’s side to start the 2007 season had their best games of the season on Saturday night.

Five-eighth Jerome Ropati and hooker/halfback and now centre Lance Hohaia were two of their best.

Okay, so the Cowboys weren’t much chop but the Warriors did do the basics right and a 26-0 scoreline probably flattered the visitors such was the Warriors dominance throughout the game.

Hohaia has been battling away playing for Waicoa Bay in the Bartercard Cup and hasn’t looked like getting a chance in the top grade for some time now.

Despite the fact that his contract is believed to be in the higher levels of the current playing roster, Hohaia has not warranted selection ahead of other players on form according to coach Cleary.

He only got his opportunity to play because regular centre Tony Martin succumbed to a shoulder problem in the lead-up to the game and Hohaia won a re-call into the starting side.

Most people expected Hohaia to play as a five-eighth given his lack of experience wider out and that Ropati, who has played a lot at centre, could easily push out.

But Cleary opted to leave Ropati playing as a stand-off, claiming that he’d prefer not to break-up the combination of Ropati and halfback Grant Rovelli.

The move paid off in a big way with Hohaia playing well at centre and Ropati turning in a man-of-the-match type performance.

Ropati has often been criticised for not having the distribution skills that most five-eighths have but he delivered passes that set up three of the Warriors five tries.

His delayed, short-pass to put Sam Rapira over was of the highest order and Cleary can at least go into the off-season knowing he has some options up his sleeve for next season.

New recruit Michael Witt has played plenty of five-eighth and is the logical choice to start the new year as the club’s first-up option to play alongside Rovelli in the halves but with both Ropati and Hohaia showing nice touches on Saturday, Witt might have a battle on his hands once he arrive in Auckland.

Similarly, Cleary could see himself with a number of options wider out next season.

Patrick Ah Van filled in solidly for departing fullback Brent Webb while Webb was injured recently and could push for an outside back’s position next year once Parramatta fullback Wade McKinnon arrives.

Manu Vatuvei will clearly fill one wing sport but Ah Van and Todd Byrne, who is set to return from a broken arm in the next week or so, will fight for the other spot.

There is also Cooper Vuna nipping at their heals.

It would appear that Simon Mannering and Tony Martin would have centre positions filled for next year and Rovelli is certainly the number one halfback.

Steve Price and Ruben Wiki are guaranteed to start in the front row alongside Nathan Fien, who looks dynamite at hooker.

Louis Anderson, Michael Luck, Wairangi Koopu and Sione Faumuina fill the back-row spots, with one of those players joining Evarn Tuimavave on the bench.

Then players like Rapira, Epalahame Lauaki and perhaps Sonny Fai will be fighting out places on the bench.

The club has also stated recently that they would like to add maybe one more player to their roster before the season finishes.

Here’s a look at the roster so far for 2007.
Fullbacks – McKinnon, Ah Van, Aiden Kirk
Wingers – Vatuvei, Byrne, Ah Van, Vuna
Centres – Mannering, Martin, Ropati
Five-eighths – Witt, Ropati, Hohaia
Halfbacks – Rovelli, Fien, Hohaia
Hookers – Fien, Gatis, Hohaia
Props – Wiki, Price, Tuimavave, Rapira
Back-rowers – Anderson, Koopu, Luck, Faumuina, Lauaki, Fai

* To comment on this piece send emails to dale@radiosport.co.nz
 

sebastian_old

Guest
Its always a pity when the Mr Budge's artciles ends. Next year looks good aye!! If Mr Budge says Ropati played well, then i'm not going to argue but it certainly wasn't anything special, maybe stuff thats been just been expected of him all along.
 

MiXmasterreece_old

Guest
sebastian said:
Its always a pity when the Mr Budge's artciles ends. Next year looks good aye!! If Mr Budge says Ropati played well, then i'm not going to argue but it certainly wasn't anything special, maybe stuff thats been just been expected of him all along.

Budge and Alan Mac are the only league 'experts' worth reading / listening too to be honest.
 

Esoj_old

Guest
MiXmasterreece said:
sebastian said:
Its always a pity when the Mr Budge's artciles ends. Next year looks good aye!! If Mr Budge says Ropati played well, then i'm not going to argue but it certainly wasn't anything special, maybe stuff thats been just been expected of him all along.

Budge and Alan Mac are the only league 'experts' worth reading / listening too to be honest.

so true mix. budge is by far and away the best league journo in the land. his articles are always quality.

alan Mac calls the game very well and knows his stuff alright.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
Is Mr. Budge a 'hidden' user on here? LOL because I was reading a lot of similarities in that article to what many members have been saying on here. hehe
 

Esoj_old

Guest
maybe he looks through the forums who knows. the sunday news printed some posts from here a few weeks back so anything is possible
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
Dale Budge has been a member of this forum since the debate competition several months ago. Since then though, he hasn't made any posts, unless he has set up an anonymous account.
 

Wiki_old

Guest
Jesbass said:
Dale Budge has been a member of this forum since the debate competition several months ago. Since then though, he hasn't made any posts, unless he has set up an anonymous account.

Actually he has been watching over us for a lot longer than that.

I once asked him to pop along and share his thoughts only to be told that he frequented the place for a wee while now.
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
Wiki said:
Jesbass said:
Dale Budge has been a member of this forum since the debate competition several months ago. Since then though, he hasn't made any posts, unless he has set up an anonymous account.

Actually he has been watching over us for a lot longer than that.

I once asked him to pop along and share his thoughts only to be told that he frequented the place for a wee while now.

Ah, well there you go!

Do you know him personally, Wiki? Or did you do this by sending him an email?
 

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