David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Recalled Warriors fullback Tui Lolohea says time on bench has helped his game

It might sound strange but reinstated Warriors fullback Tui Lolohea says losing his starting spot was good for his game.

Lolohea will start at fullback in Saturday's home clash against Penrith after being on the bench in recent weeks, with David Fusitu'a shifting to centre despite some impressive showings in the No1 jersey.

The 21-year-old Kiwis international admitted to being frustrated after he was first relegated to the bench before kickoff in the golden point loss to Cronulla last month.

The following week he started on the wing in the round 17 win over the Titans but was kept on the bench until the 82nd minute of the golden point loss to Manly in Perth a fortnight ago.

Against the Raiders last Saturday, his arrival provided a boost to the side's attack during an energetic 32 minute stint in the second-half before they fell to a Jarrod Croker try in the first minute of extra time.

Lolohea's demotion and lack of game time sparked the interest of several rival NRL clubs who made contact with his agent after his two-minute showing against the Sea Eagles, but the Marists Saints junior reiterated the fact he wants to play out his career at the Warriors.

"It probably hasn't been the best couple of weeks for me but I had a lot of support," Lolohea said of his recent time on the pine.

"I had a lot of conversations with Cappy (coach Andrew McFadden) over the three weeks. There was a lot of stuff going on in the media, saying there was a lot of clubs (interested) but I'm pretty happy here and I'm just trying to get better as a footy player.

"What Cappy was saying in the media was right, there's definitely stuff that I need to work on. I understood and respected Cappy's decision in that game against Manly, when he didn't play me.

"I can't wait to get out there this week and rip in. I managed to get more minutes on the weekend and just tried to play some good footy and get my name back in the starting line-up and I'm pretty fortunate to be there this week."

Following the narrow field goal defeats to Cronulla and Manly, McFadden came under fire from fans and commentators bewildered as to why one of the game's brightest attacking talents was not being used.

While he had been buoyed by the groundswell of support from Warriors fans, Lolohea insists he understood his coach's stance.

"I was disappointed and Cappy knew I was but at the end of the day Cappy makes the decisions," he said.

"A lot of fans love me, but the fans won't understand where Cappy is coming from and what's best for the team. I like that the fans had their say but at the end of the day Cappy makes the final decisions."

Despite some outstanding attacking form against the Broncos, Knights and Roosters, he revealed he had been spoken to about an apparent lack of urgency in defensive situations.

"He mentioned it a couple of games before that (Cronulla match), that I needed to work on some stuff, and it got to that point where I think it was good for me that I got benched.

"I just react a bit too slow and I've got to get my body in front of some of the contact stuff, especially when there's line breaks.

"It made me realise that it is important in the team and the team is going to benefit from the things that I do."

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