NRL: Godinet has chance to claim position

By Steve Deane

Godinet was largely unused last season. Photo / Greg Bowker
Godinet was largely unused last season. Photo / Greg Bowker

Diminutive playmaker Pita Godinet and strapping super utility Carlos Tuimavave would appear to have the most to play for when the Warriors begin their trials' campaign against the Gold Coast in Burleigh Heads on Saturday.

With veteran hooker Nathan Friend to miss a good chunk of the early season action because of a second shoulder surgery, Godinet is in the mix to nail down a spot in either the halves or at hooker.

Having been plucked from the Vulcans and handed a part-time training contract in 2010, the exciting Godinet has done enough to hold his place in the squad without ever really breaking through under Ivan Cleary or Brian McClennan.

After a clutch of cameo appearances at hooker in 2011, Godinet was largely unused last season - playing just once against Melbourne when Shaun Johnson was on test duty - until Tony Iro adopted a damn-the-torpedoes approach to selection during his brief spell as caretaker coach.

Iro tipped the squad on its head for the final two games of last year's miserable campaign, with Godinet the most impressive call up in place of the struggling Johnson.

The 25-year-old will start in the halves alongside new recruit Harry Siejka on Saturday in a side consisting mainly of fringe NRL candidates. Long-time understudy Alehana Mara will start at hooker, however coach Matt Elliott indicated Godinet was in the mix alongside Thomas Leuluai and youngster Siliva Havili to see some game time in the NRL line-up.

"He is going to get plenty of opportunity," Elliott said. "I'm not going to be locked in to anything but it is certainly something we are looking at. And there are opportunities in the halves. If we decide Thomas is going to be our hooker, what is our halves combination?"

The speedy defence-splitting specialist Godinet alongside Johnson shapes as a tantalising possibility.

With James Maloney departed and Friend in the sick bay, Godinet has divined the tea leaves and figured things might be looking up this season. Certainly he's enjoying the fresh start under a new coaching regime.

Elliott pointed out that he had only seen many of his squad play on television, and some of them not at all. But what little he has seen of Tuimavave he has clearly liked. The former juniors star begins his pre-season campaign where he left off last season, at fullback, however Elliott sees him as valuable bench utility.

"What Carlos brings is great versatility and I think his best route into first grade is that versatility. If you've got him on the bench you've got every position in the outside backs covered, you've got your halves covered and potentially he could even fill in for a little bit in the back row."

Warriors trial team
Warriors team to play the Gold Coast Titans at Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads, on Saturday, kick-off 8.15pm (NZT), is: Carlos Tuimavave, Glen Fisiiahi, Dominique Peyroux, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Ngani Laumape, Pita Godinet, Harry Siejka, Steve Rapira (c), Alehana Mara, Suaia Matagi, John Palavi, Sam Lousi, Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Atelea Nafetalai, Sione Lousi, David Fusitua, Aaron Nootai, Nathaniel Peteru, Siliva Havili, Konrad Hurrell, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Trent Bishop, David Bhana.

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- NZ Herald

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