Top 8: Ill-fated first grade debuts
STAFF WRITER | MAY 15, 2021 - 4:42PM
This Warriors Life’s Will Evans relives some of the most unfortunate maiden first-grade forays from over the years.
The likes of Sydney Roosters halfback Sam Walker, Warriors playmaker Reece Walsh and Wests Tigers winger Zac Cini have made stellar NRL debuts already this season, while this weekend’s Magic Round is set to see Jakob Arthur blooded at five-eighth for Parramatta.
Getting that initial call-up is an unforgettable career highlight for any player – the stuff of rugby league dreams. But not every debut follows the fairytale script.
Will Evans from This Warriors Life
relives some of the most unfortunate maiden first-grade forays from over the years.
3. Peter Lewis (Auckland Warriors)
Nineteen-year-old centre Lewis produced one of the more bizarre and avoidable debut shockers in 1999. The Warriors’ clash with Balmain at Leichhardt Oval descended into farce as Matthew Ridge and Nigel Vagana manhandled referee Paul Simpkins as they (erroneously) protested a Tigers field goal; the Kiwi Test stars were both handed three-match suspensions in the wake of the 17-8 loss.
Meanwhile, Lewis – who made an otherwise unremarkable NRL entry off the bench – was slapped with a club-imposed ban and fine for spraying his beleaguered teammates from the sideline as the match slipped away, purportedly using the words “weak” and “gutless”.
The former Junior Kiwi learned a harsh lesson but ultimately played 11 games for the Warriors in 1999, before representing Cook Islands at the 2000 World Cup and embarking on brief stints with Penrith and Parramatta.
This Warriors Life's Will Evans relives some of the most unfortunate maiden first-grade forays from over the years.