General Wiki wants Warriors quick out of blocks



Wiki wants Warriors quick out of blocks
Friday, April 14, 2006 - 9:55 PM

Ruben Wiki wants the New Zealand Warriors to be quick out of the blocks against Canberra on Saturday night in a match that will mark a personal milestone in his distinguished rugby league career.

The frontrower will make his 250th first-grade appearance, and by a quirk of coincidence it will come against his former club and at the ground where he made his debut 13 years ago.

Wiki, who turned out 225 times for the Raiders over 11 seasons, admits he'll have a lump in his throat when he runs out at Canberra Stadium.

But he would be focused on trying to make sure the Warriors left with two competition points to take them into positive territory on the NRL table.

To achieve that, he said, they would have to put behind them their tendency to start slowly, a trend that began in the pre-season trials.

Last week, the early advantage they gave the opposition was 20 points, and it proved to much as Manly held off a second-half comeback from the Warriors to win 22-8.

"You can't wait for the other team to score tries," Wiki said.

"You can't give any team 20 points' start, because they'll keep hanging in there and it's too hard to catch up."

The Warriors and Canberra have identical 2-3 records, but the Raiders have the worst defensive record in the league so far this season.

They have already leaked 190 points, suffering big defeats to Newcastle (70-32) and the Sydney Roosters (56-20), and going down to the Bulldogs 30-12 at home last weekend.

But Wiki expected those results would have Canberra "pretty pumped up".

"They've lost a few games and they'll probably want to spoil the party," he said.

"But we're just going for the two points, that's all that matters for me."

The trip back to Canberra Stadium will be Wiki's first since he left the Raiders at the end of the 2004 season.

He said it would be strange not to be heading for the home changing room when he arrived at the ground.

"It's going to be weird more than anything else - 11 seasons at Canberra and now I'm going back wearing another jersey," he said.

"I grew to love all the fans there, and it's going to be mixed emotions, coming out of the away changing room. But things happen for a reason, so hopefully I'll get a warm reception."

Only Stephen Kearney - with 264 appearances for Western Suburbs, the Warriors and Melbourne - has played more games among New Zealanders who have plied their trade in the NRL.

Wiki made his first-grade debut as a 20-year-old against South Sydney in 1993, an occasion that remains a fond memory.

"Running out against the Rabbitohs with Mal Meninga and all those legends was a big highlight for me," he said.

The following year, as a centre "with young legs and pretty light", he helped the Raiders to their third premiership title.

As his career has unfolded, he has moved into the forward pack, going into the second row and then to prop.

At 33 and playing in a position which is the most physical on the field, the evergreen Wiki is not planning to retire any day soon.

The Warriors this week announced that he had extended his contract by a year to the end of the 2008 season, by which time he will be 35.

Come next month, he is expected to lead the Kiwis again, gaining a world record-extending 51st cap against the Kangaroos in Brisbane.

Wiki said his body remained in good shape and his love of rugby league was as strong as ever.

"When I first started I was the youngest in the team, now I'm the oldest," he said.

"When you get to do something you love doing, it's just awesome. I just want to keep playing until I can't play any more."

He said the secrets to his longevity were his family who made sure he remained down to earth, and all the young players who wanted his spot in the side and therefore kept him on his toes.

"I'm still learning now, so that's a good sign.

"I still cross my fingers that I'll get into the team. You can't take anything for granted. If I do that, that's the time to hang my boots up."


Well done and good luck tonight against your old club.

Go you mighty warriors


He's made some pretty historical moments in this long, long career of his. And I agree Warriors need to start quick but not get too carried away.

GO Warriors!!

Damn we got delayed coverage on

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