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01 Jan 1970 12:00PM

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Rugby league: Warriors coach Nathan Brown reveals why he dropped gun NRL second rower Eliesa Katoa

By: Michael Burgess
Sports writer for NZME

Warriors coach Nathan Brown has confirmed that gun second rower Eliesa Katoa has been dropped due to form reasons, with the hope he can develop his game in reserve grade.

After starting the first five games this year, Katoa didn't even make the extended bench for the team named to face the Dragons on Sunday, and will play in the second-tier competition this weekend.

It's quite a turnaround, but not entirely unexpected.

Katoa was a revelation in his rookie season last year and quickly became one of the first picked every week.

Injuries meant he played only 13 games, but the 1.93m, 110kg former Tamaki College 1st XV product was an intimidating weapon on the edge, with six tries and three line breaks. He averaged 100 running metres, from a heavy workload of almost 70 minutes a match.

This year has been different.

Like many before him, Katoa has struggled to replicate the same impact in his second season. A cheekbone injury compromised his pre-season, while his output since has been down, as opposition teams have targeted his threat.

"He is a young fella and people tend to forget he has probably only played 20 odd rugby league games in his whole career," Brown told Newstalk ZB.

"I've thought for a while it would be good for Eli to play some [Queensland] Cup this season. Learning your trade in the NRL – that's the hardest spot you can learn it.

"I've coached lots of young kids and sometimes you just drop them back for a couple of games; it's just how you develop as a player. It's the best way you develop, rather than forcing them to play NRL every week."

A dejected-looking Eliesa Katoa. Photo / Photosport
A dejected-looking Eliesa Katoa. Photo / Photosport
Brown suggested that it wouldn't be a long apprenticeship.

"He'll get to play a lot of minutes back there," said Brown. "I don't think he will be gone for too long. It will be just nice for him to play at a bit of a different pace, different level and work on a couple of small things to come back up and continue to grow his game."

Brown is optimistic about the prospects for wing David Fusitua, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

"It's more of a short term one, we believe at this stage," said Brown. "We will wait and see how he progresses through his rehab. It's certainly not a long term one, but how long he will actually be we are not 100 per cent sure."

Centre Marcelo Montoya has so far passed his concussion protocols, after a head knock in the second half of last Friday's 13-12 loss to the Sea Eagles and is expected to play.

Prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown has been named on the extended bench but may come into the equation.

"We are going to make up our mind on our 17 or 18 over the next couple of days," said Brown. "We've got a good long week of training to see where blokes are at"

Warriors coach Nathan Brown. Photo / Photosport

Adding more punch to their attack is a major focus, after a dreadful offensive display last Friday, where they couldn't make the most of long periods inside Manly territory.

"We need to look at what we are trying to do there," said Brown. "That goal-line attack is where we are obviously not getting it quite right at the moment. Do we tinker with it, or do we keep working hard at what we are doing?

"We are working hard, like all sides, on our defence. Sometimes when you have a lot of focus on one thing, you do take your eye off the ball elsewhere. So it is about getting both parts of the game right.

"But if you are not defending well you are in trouble, so we need to keep improving that part of our game whilst we work out which is our best way to attack inside that red zone."

Brown suggested that the injury enforced changes to combinations hadn't helped, allied with poor option taking on the field last Friday.

He has faith in the current spine and said "chopping and changing" would be counterproductive.
Bullshit always play your best team, if he’s getting dropped because of a form slump half the team needs to be dropped.
At the moment , would you be Nathan Brown or Anthony Griffin?
Good question

Brownie has yet to experience that uniquely warriors experience whereby after being written off by everyone and his dog, their season decimated by injury, they go out, play a blinder and put a top 8 side away easily.

The coach is lauded, the team praised, fans are ecstatic and we are top 4 material.

Then we play the Storm
Katoa does look like he needs a break from nrl. No doubt he will be one of our best in later years but you don't want to burn these guys out.
It's a completely understandable situation - yes, he had a great first season for someone with as few games of rugby league under his belt as he did, but it's a recipe for disaster to not "bounce" a new player between NRL and NSW/QLD a couple of times in their first season, even if only to give their bodies a break. Without fail, every NRL rookie gets interviewed and says something along the lines of "I knew NRL was faster and harder just by watching it. I didn't realise just how much until I played NRL."

Mr Walker, The Already Annointed Next Immortal After The Next Immortal, will certainly be sent down a level by Trent Robinson in the next month or two.
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Need to finish chances. They had enough ball and field position to win 10 games against Manly.
Forwards are doing there job in spades, and to think how many of our stars are injured in the forwards.

Just need the key offensive players to know their roles and ICE these plethora of redzone chances, or have composure and get the grubber in. Sean O'Sullivan just push Kodi over while your playing, tell him nobody in the team likes him, hes a very emotional chap and will stop trying to play 7 at 6 and not play 6 at all.

We HAVE to beat either st george or the storm to stay in touch or its 2/5. Good news is we do have what I thought were stronger teams, repeated this year. But next 2 weeks could see panic stations and George look to get too involved and release Walsh before hes had a game and then look to sign another reserve grade FB for $650k out of fright in what hes done (oh my imagination, not like that could ever happen).

Seriously, have to find a way to execute offense and be a top 4 team for the next 2 weeks.
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Some positive news of he listens up the advice. When kodi actually gets involved in the game and shows interested he's pretty exciting to watch.
I know who I'm adding to my multi for anytime try scorer this weekend 😁.
I don’t usually have to do anything with the ball, but he’s encouraging me to get the ball because things seem to happen around me."
Some positive news of he listens up the advice. When kodi actually gets involved in the game and shows interested he's pretty exciting to watch.
I know who I'm adding to my multi for anytime try scorer this weekend 😁.
Sorry but I thought he had heaps of touches in the Manly game and fucked them up. I wouldn't say he went missing in that game but he was poor
I thought Kodi had a shocker but most halves in the comp rn are pretty inconsistent aren't they? There's genuinely a good halves and hookers crisis so it is what it does.

I think Kodis been good for us but that game against Manly he was really dumb but wasn't the only one.
Bullshit always play your best team, if he’s getting dropped because of a form slump half the team needs to be dropped.
When a coach says a player is in need of a confidence boost, it is a nice way of saying that they have realised after talking with a player that the player is telling them they are lacking in confidence.
Confidence is one of the qualities that a coach has to hear from the player, it is not something you can watch and assume is there, or not there.

For example, a high profile player has a mare of a game like Manu vs the Eels.

Ivan could assume that has shattered his confidence, however he would have asked Manu....and he would have offered Manu....the option of having a break if Manu had said I have lost my confidence.

But Manu came back the next week and turned it around....I guarantee you if he said to Ivan I am not up for it....that the coach would not have put him out there.

Katoa would have said he is struggling....otherwise Brown would nevrer have mentioned the word confidence.