General Trial II


I think he was good last year...awful the year before though...

He awful in 2009. Awful in 2010 up until about the mid season point where his defense improved a hell of a lot. From there on he was good.



Manu Vatuvei looked ready to inflict himself on more NRL defenders when he scored a try and looked fit and fast in the Warriors' pre-season hit-out against Stephen Kearney's Parramatta Eels.

Just like the city's famous geysers, the action yesterday came in fits and starts but it was the Warriors wingers - Vatuvei and speedy youngster Glen Fisiiahi - who burst into prominence.

Coach Ivan Cleary was particularly impressed with Vatuvei, having his first game back after months out with injury, who was probably the outstanding player until he left the field after 55 minutes.

"It was probably the best first game I have seen him have," said Cleary. "It is probably the lightest he has been at this stage [of a season]. I'm just glad he's on our team."

In the opening minutes of the second half, Fisiiahi brought the crowd to their feet, dotting down near the posts after beating three defenders with a twisting 50m run.

As the sun went down, the action hotted up, with the Warriors producing some of the ad lib football they are famous for. Kevin Locke, who looked sharp throughout, sparked an attack from his own tryline with a piece of elusive magic.

Five tackles and 100m later, Fisiiahi touched down for the try of the match.

"He's certainly a talent," said Cleary of Fisiiahi, "and he is doing everything he can to force his way into the NRL team."

There were flashes of brilliance on a sweltering afternoon, mostly from the Warriors who produced the more cohesive display, eventually sprinting away after a tight first half.

Coaches attach limited importance to trial matches but Cleary came away happy, as his side dominated the encounter from the start.

He praised his side's patience and ball control on attack, and goal line commitment on defence, with the only negative being a number of penalties conceded as they struggled with some new refereeing interpretations.

"There are a few things we need to fix up," said Cleary, "but all in all, it was a pretty good day."

The Warriors scored five tries to one, with the Sydneysiders failing to capitalise on the few scoring opportunities they created.

A relaxed Kearney said his side's effort was "encouraging", adding that the result has no significance ahead of the first round NRL clash on March 12.

Like any pre-season encounter, it was a little disorganised at times - the sight of big prop Russell Packer putting in a fifth tackle chip kick is not something that Cleary will want to see again soon - but both teams will benefit from the hit-out in the heat.

Cleary choose to rest regulars Brett Seymour, James Maloney, Lance Hohaia and Simon Mannering, while there was also no place for new buys Feleti Mateo and Shaun Berrigan - and also meaning the Warriors backline structure in particular is still not known.

The Warriors opened the scoring through Vatuvei - who else? - in the 11th minute from a simple overlap after some slick passing on the left hand edge.

Parramatta lock Shane Shackleton was then held up over the line before Eel-turned-Warrior Krisnan Inu produced a gravity-defying leap to reel in an Issac John bomb and score near the right touchline.

The Sydney side finally got on the board in the 35th minute, with second-rower Taniela Lasalo forcing his way over after Jeff Robson had split the marker defence.

For the Eels, Paul Whatuira - one of the few Kiwis to win NRL rings with two different teams - looked as fit and tough as ever on his return to the Southern Hemisphere.

Kearney also handed Eels debuts to former Bronco Casey McGuire and firebrand centre Chris Walker.

The Warriors have two more trial matches before their first round clash against Parramatta at Eden Park next month.

Warriors 24 (M. Vatuvei, K. Inu, G. Fisiiahi (2), L. Brown tries; Inu 2 goals), Eels 4 (T. Lasalo try). Halftime: 8-4
Highlight for Spence!


Cheers, it's certainly a dilemma... Locke V Fish. It's going to be an interesting battle over the next few seasons (unless one leaves).


He awful in 2009. Awful in 2010 up until about the mid season point where his defense improved a hell of a lot. From there on he was good.

I disagree. He wasn't GOOD in the first half of the season but he wasn't awful either imo.

Must have missed Locke setting up the break... :redface1: thats good news though.

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