Richie Barnett on league

Opinion and analysis from former Kiwis captain Richie Barnett

Richie Barnett: Sea Eagles will offer true test for Warriors

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Nathan Friend (left) and Kevin Locke (right) celebrate a try by Elijah Taylor (centre). Photo / Richard Robinson
Nathan Friend (left) and Kevin Locke (right) celebrate a try by Elijah Taylor (centre). Photo / Richard Robinson

The Warriors have shown signs they are starting to play the sort of football we knew they were capable of, but the real test will be against Manly on Sunday.

The Sea Eagles are a high-quality outfit who give teams very little time and space. They have the best defence and are the most aggressive side in the competition.

The Warriors will go into this match with renewed confidence. They are playing at a high level and it was pleasing to see them express themselves on Monday night.

Brisbane were short on players with size and experience but the Warriors still had to beat them and they more than performed at Suncorp Stadium.

One of the most impressive aspects has been the performances of the spine. The hooker, halves and fullback combination is crucial to any team and the Warriors' one is starting to work nicely. You always know what you are going to get with Nathan Friend, and Thomas Leuluai is starting to be the other rock in that side.

His work ethic and defence are first-rate, but perhaps what stands out is his character.

Leuluai has been around for a long time now. He's starting to understand his role in the Warriors and people are realising what an asset he is. The young guys certainly look up to him.

Fullback Kevin Locke has also impressed in the past couple of weeks. We all know what he is capable of but his issue was consistency. He is vitally important to the Warriors and needs to deliver every week.

This weekend's game against Manly is another test but it's one not only Locke but also all the Warriors players should look forward to.

- NZ Herald

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