General Matthew Ridge: Toopi a top talent

warriors4life_old

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From stuff.co.nz

By MATTHEW RIDGE

Seven rounds out from the finals, and one of rugby league's great game breakers could be on the verge of leaving the Warriors.

Even after losing to Parramatta last night, the club can still - just -make the finals if they win every remaining game. Yet until injuries last night to Brent Webb and Manu Vatuvei made them delay a final decision until tomorrow, the Warriors were set to let Clinton Toopi leave early to England.

Toopi is out of form; well, actually, I'm not sure if he is, because I can't remember the last time he played first grade. He didn't even make it into last night's team when Webb withdrew.

And I am confused: isn't this the same player that scored the brilliant solo try where he stood up David Peachey to launch the Warriors into their first grand final? The player who, in a 15-minute spell, destroyed the Kangaroos in the Tri-Nations game in Sydney last year? The guy who scored a hat-trick inside 10 minutes to crush the more experienced Aussies at North Harbour in 2003?

Don't get me wrong - I support the Warriors' development strategy, and I know Simon Mannering is going to be a great player - his maturity, decision-making and work off the ball suggests he is a future test centre. Tony Martin has about an 80% record with the boot and is a fine support player. So I suppose I see the point.

And I realise Toopi may shoot out of the line, and has the occasional brain explosion inside his own 20 metre area: but this guy has to be ranked as one of the best centres of the past five or six years.

When Toopi first came to the Warriors, he was a skeleton with an afro, a skinny little kid of about 19. He had lots of talent and was willing to learn and I took him under my wing early on, probably because he reminded me a lot of myself at his age: he was cheeky and a lot of the older guys probably thought he was a bit too cocky but I liked that in him.

In this competition, you need to be a little bit arrogant and have that self-belief. So I took him to one side and gave him a bit of guidance. He went on to mature into a great international centre -and a match-winner. I wouldn't even be considering an early exit.

Seven games out from the finals isn't the time to play safe: it's time to roll the dice. The Warriors need to win every game left to have a chance of the eight. To do that, you need to take chances.

The former Manly standoff Cliff Lyons is regarded as one of the greatest attacking players in NRL history. He won two premierships and was the man of the match in one of them.

Every time he got the ball you had to hold your breath - it could either be magic, or three rows back in the stand. You truly never knew. But that's the risk you run with a creative ballplayer. Toopi is cut from the same cloth - he wins rugby league matches.

Although coach Ivan Cleary was on the same field when Toopi destroyed the Sharks with that big play, is there now a clash between player and coach?

The Warriors look thin for attacking options and ball offloaders with Awen Guttenbeil, Brent Webb and now Toopi leaving the club. It will put more pressure on Sione Faumuina to continue to create opportunities with the football. Well, I suppose Ali Lautiiti will be looking forward to offloading to his old mate.

It's strange, though, that I do recall hearing somewhere earlier in the year that the Warriors would not release players while they were under contract. I guess some things never change.
 

KeepingTheFaith_old

Guest
Players can't live off past glories if they're not performing and hurting the team. Ridge should know that better than anyone because he lived off his without performing from game 1 when he joined the Warriors.
 

L N_old

Guest
im with you KTF
if you cant hold your own then you shouldn't be in
but to see vuna get the nod and not Toopi
was surprising, though vuna held his own

Maneering is developing into a consistent centre
more so in the mould of a Carlaw
but has proved hes developing well
and yes at times has brain explosions

granted not as much as Toopi
but seriously he wouldn't die wondering
thats what made him the player he is...or was??
a brain explosion....
that could easily turn into a match winning play
and he has proven that on both counts

but with the season at a limbo
development for next season is whats most crucial
and with Toopi and Webb not featuring
in the back line last night development and time
is what our backline needs...definitley
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
I agree with matthew ridge. Toopi is a top talent and i would rather have clinton toopi playing instead of mannering. Sure toopi does some dumb things but he levels it up with brillant things. And thats just my opinion
 

sebastian_old

Guest
I'm more concerned with Cooper Vuna than Clinton Toopi to be honest. Hes our future & Toopi is our past. Good luck to Toopi though.
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
sebastian said:
I'm more concerned with Cooper Vuna than Clinton Toopi to be honest.

I tought he did allright last night. What concerns you about vuna seb??
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
Toopi had always been good, but as I've said there are times when he gets you excited and other times he makes you embaressed. I don't doubt he was always great, and would and could do ten times better than he has in the past three years. But as I find myself saying, we've got to look after our future more than our past. Sad he's going but its for the best. And warriorsfaifthful can't bevleive you said that abut Mannering. Cruel words! The guy's been pretty damn impressive.
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
Skinny_Ravs82 said:
And warriorsfaifthful can't bevleive you said that abut Mannering. Cruel words! The guy's been pretty damn impressive.

Yeah but so is toopi, he was just lacking confidence. You cant tell me you think mannering has more class than toopi(when confident lol) Mannering is good to im not doubting that i just think toopi is better, just my opinion:)
 

sebastian_old

Guest
warriorfaithful* said:
sebastian said:
I'm more concerned with Cooper Vuna than Clinton Toopi to be honest.

I tought he did allright last night. What concerns you about vuna seb??

I meant to mean concerned as in interested, i'm saying that i'd rather Vuna get spot in the team than Toopi because Toopi''s defenitly leaving. Cooper Vuna did a solid job last night & i hope to see more of him.
 

2big2strong_old

Guest
warriorfaithful* said:
Skinny_Ravs82 said:
And warriorsfaifthful can't bevleive you said that abut Mannering. Cruel words! The guy's been pretty damn impressive.

Yeah but so is toopi, he was just lacking confidence. You cant tell me you think mannering has more class than toopi(when confident lol) Mannering is good to im not doubting that i just think toopi is better, just my opinion:)

huh? *scratches head*
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
warriorfaithful* said:
Skinny_Ravs82 said:
And warriorsfaifthful can't bevleive you said that abut Mannering. Cruel words! The guy's been pretty damn impressive.

Yeah but so is toopi, he was just lacking confidence. You cant tell me you think mannering has more class than toopi(when confident lol) Mannering is good to im not doubting that i just think toopi is better, just my opinion:)
 

KeepingTheFaith_old

Guest
Of course Toopi is a better centre than Mannering when confident and in form. Problem is he hasn't been confident or in form since 2003. That's why he's in the situation he finds himself now.

I think the reason Vuna was picked ahead of Toopi was because they haven't 100% decided whether or not to keep Vuna and were giving him an opportunity to show he's worth keeping unlike Toopi who definately won't be there next year.

Was Toopi even at the game? Webb pulled out pretty late.
 

D Generation X_old

Guest
L N said:
im with you KTF
if you cant hold your own then you shouldn't be in
but to see vuna get the nod and not Toopi
was surprising, though vuna held his own

Maneering is developing into a consistent centre
more so in the mould of a Carlaw
but has proved hes developing well
and yes at times has brain explosions

granted not as much as Toopi
but seriously he wouldn't die wondering
thats what made him the player he is...or was??
a brain explosion....
that could easily turn into a match winning play
and he has proven that on both counts

but with the season at a limbo
development for next season is whats most crucial
and with Toopi and Webb not featuring
in the back line last night development and time
is what our backline needs...definitley
me too
 

JonB_old

Guest
KeepingTheFaith said:
Of course Toopi is a better centre than Mannering when confident and in form. Problem is he hasn't been confident or in form since 2003. That's why he's in the situation he finds himself now.

I think the reason Vuna was picked ahead of Toopi was because they haven't 100% decided whether or not to keep Vuna and were giving him an opportunity to show he's worth keeping unlike Toopi who definately won't be there next year.

Was Toopi even at the game? Webb pulled out pretty late.

The thing with Toopi I don't think is so much form and confidence it is opprtunity and he has been great running off people that can offload, he can have a whole bad season for the Warriors then then next game can blaze apart the aussies.
I have said it before he is the most dangerous person in the world with half a chance, but he is not that good infact he is terrible when he has to create play himself, he throws dumb passes and all sorts.
 

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