Justis Kamu looks at the standout issues in the NRL from the past week.
1. Johnson and Tuimavave should see out the season
James Maloney going down injured after 16 minutes against the Sharks may just be the best thing to happen for the Warriors on a humiliating Sunday afternoon.
Injuries to players is the sad and unpleasant side of the joys of playing rugby league - Maloney's injury is no different.
Yet in terms of the Warriors getting a head start on 2013 this is just the break the side needs.
After their playoffs hopes were blown to smithereens in their humiliating 45-4 loss to the Sharks on the weekend.
With Maloney is on his way to the Roosters at the season's end, we don't need to see him in the Warriors strip after the unsuccessful year.
After announcing his departure back in March, there have been no moves by the Warriors front office to fill the void.
It's no secret that Shaun Johnson and Carlos Tuimavave are the club's future halves.
Bluey should leave the Australian on the outer and give this weekend's halves pairing the last three games together.
Let's not wait till next preseason to try them out regularly, they would be undercooked for a season long campaign.
Proper NRL games is the best learning school for the pair.
Johnson will be in his third year, and is now a genuine halfback who no longer relies on just his sidestep to catch the eye.
Tuimavave on the otherhand is a young upstart who is probably still having nightmares after Colin Best's right hand fend caught him like a possum in headlights.
There will be no September football for the mighty Warriors.
This disastrous situation can still be used to their advantage.
2. Captain Vatuvei the right choice
Manu Vatuvei is the right choice as the captain of the Warriors.
Yes, you heard right. Vatuvei is the best alternative in Simon Mannering's absence to wear the captain's armband.
Many look to Vatuvei's glaring mishaps over the years or his apparent lack of tactical nous to guide the team as reasons not to appoint him with the captain's armband.
However if the Warriors wanted a leader of men to take the troops out to battle in Simon Mannering's absence.
There is no looking past big Vatuvei.
The Kiwi-Tongan is a gentle giant who is loved by all who are associated with the club.
He epitomises the spirit of the Warriors organisation and is genuinely passionate about the club that has given him his bread and butter for the past nine years.
More importantly he is hugely respected by every individual in the Warriors squad and is now the figure of mana in the lockeroom that Reuben Wiki once was for his peers.
In what has been a patchy season for the Beast, the losing results will only add to the constant pressure that he has had to cope with.
Although if anyone in the team can deal with that burden, you can bet the man with the gold teeth will keep smiling in the face of fear.
He may not articulate, appear, act, or play the position of the conventional skipper.
But he has been a truly humble and gracious servant of his club and teammates throughout his 149 game career.
That is a form of leadership in its own right - one that befits the title of captain.
3. Hayne Plane descends as Super Mullaney takes off
Is it a bird, is it a Hayne Plane?
No its Super Mullaney.
Jake Mullaney has played with plenty of conviction in the number one jumper not seen since Jared Hayne was at his peak in 2009.
The 22 year old has been in excellent form, scoring two tries on Monday night and tearing apart the Broncos (two try assists, 164m, 7 tackle breaks) the previous weekend that made the competition mark his name down as one to watch.
Mullaney looks like the real deal with his balance, smart angled runs, and composure at the back bringing reassurance to the backfield.
Eels fans have been critical of Hayne's declining form which has been hampered by a string of injuries in the past three years.
With incoming coach Ricky Stuart last year saying that Hayne's best position was at standoff, Mullaney could possibly be long term solution as Eels fullback.
4. Ricky walks away from NSW
Good news for Parrammatta Eels fans. Bad news for New South Wales fans.
Ricky Stuart signs on with the former and re-signs from the latter.
After the disastrous experience that the Eels had with Stephen Kearney working in two roles (Eels and Kiwis), it appears that Parramatta weren't as keen to give 'Sticky' the same entitlement.
Stuart who will take up the reigns of the yellow and blue in the new year, had to ditch his gig with NSW in order to pick up a regular paycheck working in the NRL.
NSW fans will be spewing over his resignation after going close over the past two years to dethroning Queensland's reign as seven time State of Origin winners.
QLD Mal Meninga joined in with the sentiments to Stuart leaving the Origin arena stating that: "Ricky brings out the best in people, certainly me," when referring to how his former Canberra teammate had made the contest even more exciting.
Laurie Daley, Gus Gould, Brad Fittler and Trent Barrett have been touted as potential replacements for Stuart as NSW head coach.
5. Your comments
The team Brian McClennan coaches today is very different from the one that reached the grand final last season. How much are the Warriors missing the experience of the players who left last year or have been out injured? Hohaia, Moon, Berrigan, Seymour, Heremaia, Inu, Luck and Sam Rapira were all instrumental in the warriors reaching the grand final and are now either gone or have played a hand full of games between them.
While I applaud the Warriors commitment to youth and the NYC competition is the future of the game, I cant help but feel the inexperience of this years many debutants to the senior squad has not helped their cause. I know there are other issues that need addressing (Defence and Consistency ) but this seems to be largely overlooked. What do you think? Go the mighty Warriors!
- Correct, the team has lost experienced players but the youth in the side isn't to blame for their poor form. They have enough players from last year's group to get them into the top eight at least.
B Henry is a backrower in the Toyota Cup yet plays centre in his rookie season. Play the kid as a 12 or 13, he's defensively sound but doesn't have the evasiveness to play in the backs. K Inu was let go in favour of Henry - Bluey got it wrong, he needs to cop that decision.
Yes, M Luck and S Rapira's absence have taken a huge toll on the forwards. But R Packer is no puppy and proved last year that he's a seasoned campaigner. S Lousi is the new addition (a handy one too) in the prop rotation with J Lillyman still there.
S Berrigan and L Hohaia were the key losses from last year's side.
B Seymour had lost his place in the second half of the season to S Johnson. Moon and Heremaia's departures were offset by K Hurrell's rise and N Friend's arrival. Hurrell has lived up to his hype while Moon couldn't, and Friend's experience in this competition outweighs that of Heremaia.
The Warriors have guys at 4,5 and 2 who are good ball runners and awful defenders. That's their problem. Those guys score tries when they're in space, but they don't know how to stop other teams from exploiting them. Manu is a lost cause in that respect, but the Tupou and Hurrell should get there.
- Can't agree with you about M Vatuvei. He will be back to his best next season and prove to all the sceptics that he is still one of the top wingers in rugby league. The Warriors captain is not a lost cause. He's our best winger both defensively and on the attack by a country mile. Hurrell and Tupou are the biggest culprits on defence but are not targets because one scored a bucket load of tries and the other is quiet as a mouse. Vatuvei has been the only one of the trio to front up about his mistakes this season.
I saw players warming up but several players had more interest in the young lady singing to the crowd, one player even started dancing(K Hurrel) what on earth are the coaching staff doing? when players are not switched on during warmups chances are that translate to the playing field.On the other side when the Warriors decided to spin the ball they found gaps and even scored but reverted back to one out from the play the ball and Manly just said thanks we can defend against that very well.One thing Bluey can do to improve this talented group is to replace Tony Iro he is a major problem with the players I saw that in all its glory on Saturday night,Ivan had ti on a tight rope 2010 now?
- Players dancing in the warmup isn't something new and these days you're bound to get a few lads in the team who like to nod their head or bust a move to the stadium sounds overhead. You see it in all professional sports, particularly the NFL, NBA and even the EPL. When they cross that white line for game time though, everyone needs to be at their optimum both mentally and physically. As for T Iro, he does seem to be moving his mouth a lot when he enters the field with the water. Particularly while the game is in motion, which can be a distraction for some players. However he won't be going anywhere as he is the Warriors future headcoach if things don't work out with Bluey. The club's policy is recruit Kiwis, that would probably stand for players and coaching staff.
6. Team of the week - Round 22
1. Fullback - Josh Dugan (Raiders)
2. Wing - Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters)
3. Centre - Steve Matai (Sea Eagles)
4. Centre - Colin Best (Sharks)
5. Wing - Marika Koroibete (Tigers)
6. Five-eighth - Todd Carney (Sharks)
7. Halfback - Benji Marshall (Tigers)
8. Prop - Aidan Tolman (Bulldogs)
9. Hooker - Jake Friend (Roosters)
10. Prop - Andrew Fifita (Sharks)
11. Secondrow - Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles)
12. Secondrow - David Taylor (Rabbitohs)
13. Lock - Shaun Fensom (Raiders)
Coach: Shane Flanagan (Sharks)