Player Ken Maumalo

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NRL: Maumalo's remarkable transformation
3:48 PM Friday Jun 19, 2015

NZ Warriors Ken Maumalo. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

Ken Maumalo never expected to play NRL this year but three impressive showings on the Warriors' right wing have capped a remarkable transformation for the former under 20s back-rower.

With front-line wing contenders Ngani Laumape (ACL), David Fusitua (shoulder, groin), and Glen Fisiiahi (knee) all battling injuries, Maumalo has stepped up in place of the more experienced Jonathan Wright to hold his spot for today's away game against the Gold Coast Titans.

The towering 20-year-old is quickly building a reputation as a powerful metre-eater and reliable ball carrier, but that wasn't always the case, with handling errors regularly blighting his performances in the Holden Cup.

"I didn't think I was going to debut this year from how I was playing last year with handling errors," Maumalo explained.

"I was pretty terrible at the high ball a couple of years ago but that's something I've knuckled down on and really worked hard on.

"I've tried to work on my ball security and had a tough pre-season. I worked hard and was focussed on what I wanted to do this year, and that was obviously to debut and play a couple of games, so it's good."

He finished 2014 contributing a try in the Warriors under 20s grand final win over the young Broncos but was not expected to come into first grade calculations until coach Andrew McFadden recognised his work ethic and determination to improve.

After featuring in the NRL Auckland Nines, Maumalo starred with two tries in the pre-season trial against Penrith, and was rewarded with round one selection against the Newcastle Knights.

However, a hamstring strain at the final team run the day before the game robbed him of that opportunity and it took until round 10 to make his first start against the Parramatta Eels, before playing in the last two losses to the Rabbitohs and Roosters.

McFadden is excited about Maumalo's potential and impressed with the manner in which he handled his NRL introduction.

"He is certainly adding a lot of value to us and I think everyone can see that, so whilst he's doing that he holds his position," McFadden said.

"We've played a couple of tough teams and for a young guy coming up against the Rabbitohs and then Roosters, that's no easy feat, and he's gone straight into them head on.

"He's a pretty fearless guy. He's big and he gives us that Manu (Vatuvei)-like carry out of yardage and he's been really strong with the high ball as well."

The Titans are facing some possible disruption, with captain Nate Myles potentially missing tonight's match due to a foot injury from State of Origin II.

The Queensland prop suffered the injury early in the loss to NSW at the MCG on Wednesday night and was sent for scans to determine the extent of the damage.

If Myles is ruled out, Gold Coast second-rower Ryan James is tipped to skipper the side for another week after deputising in last weekend's impressive win over Canterbury.

Meanwhile, former Kiwis international Kevin Locke has quit UK Super League club Salford amid an ongoing pay dispute.

The Manchester Evening News report that Locke's Leeds based solicitor, Richard Cramer, confirmed the 26-year-old's departure and said his client was seeking unpaid wages from the Red Devils.
Warriors wing spot Maumalo's to lose
Thu 18 Jun, 2015, 10:47am
By Corey Rosser, NZ Correspondent

Before the start of the year he was better known as a back-rower in the Holden Cup, but Ken Maumalo has become the unlikely man to solve the Warriors' right wing problem.

With Ngani Laumape – who partnered Manu Vatuvei on the flanks for most of 2014 – out for the season with a partially torn ACL, the Warriors have tried both Tuimoala Lolohea and Jonathan Wright in the position with mixed success.

But in 20-year-old Maumalo the club have found a prototype of their ideal winger: a big, powerful ball carrier who can gain metres early in tackle counts.

In each of his three Telstra Premiership games to date Maumalo has run for more than 100 metres and averaged 14 carries, ticking off a couple of his key weekly goals in the process.

"Seventeen-plus carries every week and try and make all my tackles, and go errorless – those are the goals I set and the standards I try and live up to," said Maumalo, who stands at 191cm and currently weighs 105kgs.

"[In the] NSW Cup I was meeting them week-in, week-out, but the NRL is a bit harder to meet your goals."

After three straight victories the Warriors have slumped to defeats against premiership contenders the Rabbitohs and Roosters in the past fortnight, but Maumalo says he has already learnt from those contests. "It's been good playing against top quality teams; it has been great for my experience and I am learning a lot."

Growing up playing footy for south Auckland club the Papatoetoe Panthers, Maumalo was a back-rower who also played a bit of centre.

He continued to make a name for himself in the Warriors' NYC squad as second-rower, scoring a try off the bench in last year's grand final victory over the Broncos.

But after spending the off-season training as a winger, and starring in the position with a double against the Panthers in a trial match this year, Maumalo was called up to take a place in the injury-ravaged Warriors backline.

"I grew up playing back row and centre, but this pre-season I was training on the wing, but it doesn't matter where I play, as long as I am on the field I don't mind," Maumalo said.

"It's been easy, I guess having the likes of Manu talk to me about the wing and tell me what not to do, it's been a good transition, I am still learning but improving heaps.

"I was pretty terrible at the high ball a couple of years ago, but that's something I have knuckled down on and really worked on."

Coach Andrew McFadden has been impressed with his form so far, and confirmed mid-week that despite wing options David Fusitua and Glen Fisiiahi returning to the frame for selection, the position was Maumalo's to lose.

"Ken was terrific again on the weekend, he is certainly adding a lot of value to us and I think everyone can see that," McFadden said.

"While he is doing that he holds his position.

"We have played a couple of hard teams – for a young guy coming up against the Rabbitohs and then the Roosters that's no easy feat – but he has gone straight into them head on.

"He is a pretty fearless guy, a big guy, and he sort of gives us that Manu like carry out of yardage.

"He has obviously been very strong with the high ball as well; pretty good attributes for a winger.

"I think it will be at least a couple of games [for Fisiiahi to be considered], he is going to have to get some match fitness. [Fusitu'a] certainly looked very good in NSW Cup last weekend and he needs to continue to do that."

With Jonathan Wright not included in the 17 for this week's clash against the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, and Sam Tomkins still struggling to recover from a knee injury, Maumalo is named to make his fourth NRL appearance on Saturday night.
NRL: Maumalo out to keep starting spot
By Joseph Pearson
1:23 PM Friday Jul 31, 2015
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Ken Maumalo is determined to nail down a regular spot in the Warriors first team.

The 21-year-old winger enjoyed a purple patch in the NRL just over a month ago but he hasn't featured since the Warriors' biggest win of the season on the Gold Coast in round 15.

He suffered an ankle injury and he's had to prove himself again to Andrew McFadden in the New South Wales Cup and he scored four tries in the 24-22 win over the Illawara Cutters a few weeks ago.

Glen Fiisiahi was named on the right wing ahead of him last weekend but now he has another chance to shine when he starts against the Sharks tomorrow.

Maumalo told the Herald last month that he never expected to feature in the NRL this year but he's in line for his fifth game of 2015.

"It's my spot to lose now and I'm trying anything I can to prove my point," said Maumalo.

"I'm thankful and I'm hounored that Cappy gave me another opportunity to prove why I should be in that team.

"It's good to be back. That was the goal to achieve when I was coming back from injury. I worked hard and I tried to get back into the team as soon as possible."

Maumalo started on the right wing and scored a try in the Warriors New South Wales cup side last week and just like the NRL game, Manly took the spoils with a narrow 18-16 win.
He knows the step up will be intense and he said everyone needs time to adjust to the NRL.

"I'd single out the pace of the game," he said. "It's faster, the physicality is tougher and it's quite hard to adapt to. You need to get a couple of games in there to get a hang of the speed."

The Warriors right edge - that's been consistently changing week in, week out - will also see the return of Konrad Hurrell at centre and Maumalo knows just what he's capable of.
"He's a hard player to face," he added. "He's all action and I've got to try and run off him, push off him and support him as much as I can.

"We've been changing a lot though the year and I guess that's what Cappy wants. It's quite hard adapting to different combinations each week but I guess that's part of footy."
Can anybody expalin to me how he qualified for the NSW Residents team?
I assume it's because the Warriors play in the NSW Cup.

They changed the rules last year from SOO eligibility to "residency". Obviously he's not a resident, but it's not like this would be the first instance of NSW/QLD claiming what's not theirs.

Was quite funny listening to Craig Gower in the pre game talking about what it means to put on the blue jersey and how all these players aspire to it as a kid. Then they call out the team sheet and we've got Taylor, Maumalo, Papalli, Docker-Clay etc all on it.
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I hadn't heard that it had something to do with Origin in the past..
I thought it was always just a "resident of that state"
In the past guys like Liam Foran and Matt Robinson have played for NSW Residents while playing in NSW and guys like Kalifa Fai Fai Loa, Charlie Gubb and Kenny Bromwich have played QLD residents with playing in QLD.

I think the difference this year is they called it the "Intrust Super Premiership NSW Residents" which sorta implies its players from the ISP
Wait, heard he scored a hat-trick for the NSW Residents team.Good for him, one question though, HOW THE FUCK does he qualify for the NEW SOUTH WALES R-E-S-I-D-E-N-T-S team.These eligibility rules are a joke. I could take a shit in Australia and be eligible for the Kangaroos.Still good for him, he is showing alot of promise and I look forward to seeing what he does if he gets promoted to the first grade side.
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Warriors let him go stop doing shit to players who see the writtings on the wall & have no chance off getting a start
Ken would make a perfect 12 I reckon. In the mould of RFM but with maybe a little more speed. Was good watching him rip in yesterday even though he got 10 in the bin and got levelled by Napa. Stuck at it and made great metres up the middle.

Still too slow for the wing though - watching him turn for the kick in behind him was like watching the Titanic changing course.

We don't need to find a direct replacement for Manu. Sick of hearing "mini beast". Manu is one of a kind, much like Jonah was. Not many league players have the combination of height, weight and speed that Manu had. Let's not try to replicate him by forcing big bodies onto the wing who obviously don't have the speed/agility to perform at NRL level.
I watched Ken a lot in the 20s.
I can only recall him starting at centre or the second row.
Or coming off the bench.
Don't even recall seeing him on the wing.
Hes too slow. Isaac Liu made that very clear.
As posted by Wellington Warrior in the Recruitment Thread, Ken Maumalo har re-signed.

Interesting to note that the players voted him Player of the Day for the Roosters game...

Ken Maumalo to remain at Warriors after signing new deal
Last updated 20:21, June 22 2016

Ken Maumalo is determined to continue his career at the Warriors after forcing his way back into the NRL team and signing a new contract.

It was reported last month that the Warriors had verbally agreed to release the powerful winger to the Dragons before making a U-turn, believed to be triggered by question marks over what veteran winger Manu Vatuvei may do in the future.

At the time, Maumalo, who played eight games in his rookie season last year, was down the pecking order of wingers at the club and had yet to be used in first grade.

But another setback to Vatuvei - this time a hamstring injury - saw the 21-year-old recalled for last week's victory over the Roosters and he has held his spot for the clash against the Sharks on Saturday.

Maumalo is signed with the Warriors for the rest of this season, while they also have an option on him for next year. However, rather than just take up that option, the Warriors have gone a step further and given him a new contract until the end of the 2018 season.

Speaking ahead of the tough trip to Cronulla, Maumalo played down the potential mid-season switch and remains hopeful of building a future at Mt Smart.

"I wasn't that close [to leaving] but I'm going to stay loyal to the Warriors," he said.

"I'm happy being here, obviously I came up through the ranks and this is home for me. I just want to play my footy here."

Maumalo's return got off to a shaky start when he was sin-binned for knocking Roosters counterpart Joseph Manu off the ball in a try-scoring opportunity in the opening 20 minutes.

But he bounced back well, igniting the Warriors' sets with several barnstorming charges and running for a total of 183 metres to claim the players' player award.

"I thought he was fantastic," McFadden said. "He added some real impact for us and those sorts of carries, particularly out of our end, they get us on the front foot and when we're on the front foot it's difficult to contain us.

"We're going to need that again."

With plenty of pace to go with his imposing 191cm and 105kg frame, attack comes naturally to the Papatoetoe Panthers junior but his defence has been holding him back.

Maumalo says he has been working hard on maintaining his structure and improving his communication and credits frequent visits to defence coach Justin Morgan for helping him get back on track.

"Last year wasn't too good but these past weeks I've put a big emphasis on my defence. I always go and see Justin Morgan and watch video on what I need to work on.

"I knew my attack would get me into first grade and it was just my defence that was a problem."

With Vatuvei a possibility to return for next week's home game against the Titans and David Fusitua on fire on the right flank, Maumalo's stint back in first grade may be short-lived.

But he's vowed to make the most of his opportunity against the Sharks.

"My mindset at the moment is to earn my spot and play consistent footy. Just go out there this week and do the same thing I did last week."
Didn't expect that tbh
Congrats Ken.
Neither. Just asked him what was happening at the Broncos game and he still didnt know. I know he was keen to stay in NZ cause of his family but he must have been given a pathway plan of sorts...
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Maybe moving to the Second Row at the end of this season..?? He's obviously 3rd best winger at best. Why else would you sign for another 2 years to be injury cover?
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Or perhaps Manu will be moving on....or moving into the second row. Ken goes up the pecking order one spot.
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What do we do with him to get the best out of him? Positions or move on when available?
NSW Cup backrow, see how he goes. If he can't develop there then there's not much else we can do with him (although in fairness to Ken we've done a great job of screwing his development to begin with)
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