NRL: Fisiiahi hits form with classy effort

By Kris Shannon, Daniel Richardson

Glen Fisiiahi of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images
Glen Fisiiahi of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images

With a quick swoop, burst of pace and a well-timed draw and pass to Manu Vatuvei, Warriors' fullback Glen Fisiiahi sent a reminder to everyone that he was back.

After starting the first two games of the NRL season on the wing, the death of his sister in March threw Fisiiahi off track and he has been limited to Auckland Vulcans duty in recent weeks.

A back ailment to incumbent Kevin Locke opened the door for Fisiiahi to reclaim the No 1 jumper at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night and, despite the Warriors coughing up yet another lead to eventually lose 24-16 to the Bulldogs, the 22-year-old was one of their best on show.

He played a brilliant hand in the Warriors' opening try as he ran on to a Feleti Mateo grubber, showed his pace and sent Vatuvei across the stripe, while Vatuvei returned the favour later in the first half and put Fisiiahi in under the posts.

Fisiiahi said after the game he didn't mind where he played and was just happy to be in the 17, but there's no denying he is more suited to fullback than out on the flanks.

"When Matty told me early on in the week I was excited. Just running out there in front of the Wellington crowd and it was just a great atmosphere, too," Fisiiahi said.

"To play a good game in front of them just tops it off but, in saying that, I've still got room for improvement."

Locke's injury has come at a terrible time, given his form has been mixed this season, and Fisiiahi may make it impossible for Elliott to drop the Tongan international if he continues to perform.

Fisiiahi runs brilliant lines on attack, is dangerous on the kick return and was solid enough under the high ball on Saturday. Despite his best efforts, the Warriors again failed to convert a golden opportunity into two competition points.

Having run out to a 16-0 lead after half an hour, the Warriors allowed the Bulldogs to score four unanswered tries to walk away from Wellington with an unlikely win.

The Warriors still held a four-point advantage heading into the final 10 minutes but late tries from Ben Barba and Josh Reynolds left Shaun Johnson and his teammates scratching their heads. "It is [frustrating]," Johnson said. "I don't even know, it just hurts, that's all.

"I don't know what it was - I don't know if we went into our shell or whether they started playing good footy. We've got to sort it, though.

"But we've got to stay positive. We've got a tough game next week as well [at Penrith] so we've just got to be ready to go."

- APNZ

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