Set of Six: Taylor try undoes that losing feeling

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Elijah Taylor of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Elijah Taylor of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

Will the Warriors first win of the season bring the side fresh hope? Justis Kamu looks at where the Warriors went right, along with the six key issues in the NRL.

1. Victory brings fresh hope

It is said that effective communication is 20% verbal and 80% non-verbal.

That principle has never been truer for the Warriors in the past three games of their 11 match losing streak.

With the side failing to register any points in the opening stanza this season they have resembled a group of zombies heading to the changing rooms at halftime.

Sluggish, soulless, and lacking any expression of determination the elusive first victory for the Warriors has been a difficult outcome to achieve.

Elijah Taylor's 39th minute try in their 20-18 victory over the Cowboys was a perfectly timed injection of energy the side had been longing for.

A try after halftime wouldn't have had the same psychological effect on the Warriors who needed to breakthrough that barrier to overcome their ultimate obstacle.

That four-pointer gave them huge belief and confidence at the halftime break.

This was personified with Shaun Johnson cutting inside two defenders to score the side's second try five minutes later, before Konrad Hurrell went through a gap and barged through the tackles of Matty Bowen and Jonathan Thurston to score soon after.

There was plenty of work still to do and the Cowboys didn't help their cause with a few errors close to the Warriors tryline.

Nonetheless victory was sweet for Warriors Nation who has been served with plenty of awful performances over the past eight months.

Although the unbeaten Rabbitohs come to town this Sunday, their first victory brings fresh hope to a Warriors side that now has a huge relief lifted off their shoulders.

2. Obstruction rules no longer black and white

NRL referees' boss Daniel Anderson has copped plenty of flak in the opening rounds of the season for his hard-line approach to the obstruction rule.

The rule had become a sour point with video refs obligated to rule out tries where there was any contact made by block runners into the defenders.

Thankfully the former Warriors coach has backed down from his position and has granted power to video referees to determine whether block runners are significantly obstructing their opponents.

Beginning this weekend the rule would now see that if an attacker makes contact with a defender but that defender is not in a position stop the try being scored it will remain a four-pointer.

This would've have likely meant Cooper Cronk's no-try against the Bulldogs in round three would have stood as a try after his teammate ran into an opposition forward that was 15 metres away from Cronk as he scored.

Although the latest amendment won't go all the way to solving what is a grey area of the NRL rulebook.

It will alleviate the growing concerns that defending players will deliberately milk penalties by running into opposition players to rule out tries.

An act that Tigers captain Robbie Farah had admitted he would perform if defending a block runner near his tryline.

3. SBW in line for Kiwis selection

Sonny Bill Williams has put to bed any possible defection to Toa Samoa after declaring his intention to play for the Kiwis.

Last month there were reports that SBW was on the verge of joining a number of former Kiwis in turning out for the Toa in their April 20th test v Tonga.

However he has stated he would be available for Kiwis selection if his form warranted selection in the Anzac test on April 19th.

In the one-off traditional test the Kangaroos have dominated the battle of the Anzacs.
Last year the Kiwis went close to toppling their opponents over two tests but fell short on both attempts.

With SBW in line for selection the gap between the teams is dramatically closed with his likely inclusion.

Although Australia would be stronger outwide, the addition of his quality in the forwards would give the Kiwis the upperhand.

4. Wingers fly high as duo return

With Manu Vatuvei and Glen Fisiiahi returning from injury and bereavement leave respectively the pair aren't going to walk back into their wing positions.

Their replacements Ngani Laumape and Bill Tupou were supposed to just warm their seats until they returned.

But after starring against the Cowboys the current wingers put a strong case forward to stick with them on the edges.

Tupou had one of his louder games in the Warriors jumper breaking seven tackles, running for 161m in 17 hit ups.

It was a significant shift in the level of play from the usual quiet, but solid manner in which he has carried out his business on the field.

Laumape, a former NZ Rugby secondary schools second-five-eighth, has looked at home after two games in the top flight.

Confident with the ball the boy and accurate on defence, the 19 year old who hails from Palmerston North, would be hard done by if he were to make way for either of the returning pair.

Against the Cronulla Sharks in his first grade debut he made a team high 116m and on Monday night had 130m and two tackle breaks.

Fitting four wingers into two spots won't work for Matt Elliot and after their maiden victory the same side should be given the first bite at a second victory.

In saying that, the Rabbitohs are no longer the whipping boys of the 90s.

In order for the Warriors to overcome the second placed side it's imperative that their top wing combination start the match.

That would mean the Beast is put back into his rightful place with Laumape on the other flank.

5. Your comments
From Kyle
Very questionable team of the week especially the backrowers chris heighington made 156 metres in 48 minutes against the warriors paul gallen 200 metres in 69 minutes, sonny bill played a whole game for 115 metres and only 1 tackle break from 15 hit ups yet he is in the backrow of the week?

Also jennings not there in the centres 150 metres 2 line breaks 5 tackle busts? Surely there was a better centre than chris lawerence made 70 metres against one of the worst defences in the comp and fell over the line twice from good set ups from benji marshall. Surely farah had a better game than jake friend aswell, Inglis should get a mention 190 metres 3 line breaks 1 try assist was on fire, Robinson did play extremely well he is a very underrated player.

- SBW made the TOW on the back of his outstanding defensive effort against the Broncos with 38 tackles which was second highest on the night. Yes he did make only one tackle break from 15 hitups but did make the decisive try assist in their 8-0 win. P Gallen and G Inglis would be in the TOW each week if inclusion were to be significantly decided on metres gained. Each week they rack up huge numbers. However S Fensom played 80 mins topped the tackle count with 47, broke a tackle, made an error but went 160 metres with the ball in hand in the Raiders first win of the season. As for Jennings he's in there this week off the back of the Roosters 50-0 thrashing of the Eels.

From Sonny L
Mate you need to take your bias goggles off man!

Slater did a deliberate act when he kicked out his foot, watch the video- he was looking straight at the player running in and raised his foot straight at his face and held it in that posistion! Slater and Storm always had a win at all costs and use skullduggery tactics man, allow me to list a few...

Storm wretched without honor mate, only way for you to see it the way you do is for you to either be an idiot or biased.
As for Lilyman, oh yea mate hes a real game-breaker, all teams are deathly scared of the soft meters he makes

- Bias Goggles? Never heard of them, where do I get a pair? After viewing the video: Slater had his eyes on the ball he leapt with his leg out and caught Klemmer on the way down after making the catch. Yes he did see Klemmer after taking the catch but it was only for a split second before they collided. In my books it was not a deliberate act as you suggest. Here's a link to watch it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FjoHnthfJg.

The Storm have been caught up in a few controversies over the years as you mentioned but the latest B Slater act was not one that should be placed in the 'skulduggery tactics' class. Also you're right J Lillyman isn't going to scare many teams in the NRL but he has been the Warriors best forward and deserved to start against the Cowboys in place of B Matulino.

From Namu
You have to be kidding - allowing the Warriors to use injuries as an excuse for poor performance.

Every team in the NRL suffers from injuries and has the depth of their squad tested every season. Its what sorts the contenders from the pretenders. Out of those missing players you named, Nathan Friend is the only player of value. Manu and Ropati will take some time to get any form - both havent played a decent season in then NRL for ages.
- No I'm not using the Warriors injury crisis as an excuse for their poor performance. But it is a reason to the lack of variation in the squad selection after three straight losses. Yes it's true that injuries are part and parcel but having 12 players injured after the first round of the year is borderline injury crisis for any club. No, Friend isn't the only player of value in that list - M Vatuvei and J Ropati if healthy would be shoo-ins for starting positions in the Warriors XIII, N Laumape or B Tupou over the Beast? Yeah right. The Lousi brothers, R Packer, S Rapira, D Peyroux would've all provided strong options for M Elliot to draw upon had they been available.

6. Team of the week - round 4
1. Fullback - Billy Slater (Storm)
2. Wing - Daniel Tupou (Roosters)
3. Centre - Michael Jennings (Roosters)
4. Centre - Shaun Kenney-Dowall (Roosters)
5. Wing - Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters)
6. Five-eighth - Jamie Soward (Dragons)
7. Halfback -Mitchell Pearce(Roosters)
8. Prop - Kade Snowden (Knights)
9. Hooker - Nathan Friend (Warriors)
10. Prop - Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs)
11. Secondrow - Adam Cuthbertson (Knights)
12. Secondrow - Greg Bird (Titans)
13. Lock - Trent Merrin (Dragons)

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