Changes for Tigers clash

Changes for Tigers clash

The Warriors will have their third halves pairing in as many games, with a hip injury forcing new signing Ash Taylor out of the side’s third-round clash against Wests Tigers in Sydney on Friday night.

Kodi Nikorima will return to the halves, with senior halfback Shaun Johnson still out with a pectoral injury. Apart from the enforced change at halfback, Brown has named the same 17 used against Gold Coast for this week’s Multicultural Round.

Chanel Harris-Tavita and Nikorima were last paired as the club’s starting halves in the Vodafone Warriors’ 14th-round loss to Melbourne in June last year.

Harris-Tavita, who played at fullback in round one, said he enjoyed being back in the halves last weekend in the side’s 20-18 loss to the Gold Coast Titans when asked about the switch at a press conference earlier today.

“Halfback is obviously my preferred position. It was good and I felt pretty comfortable. There are a few areas of improvement for myself and the team but I think it was a decent start,” he said.

Playing at fullback in round one had shown him how much more effective his game could be when he is running the ball so he’s keen to develop that this season.

He said reviewing last weekend’s loss was “pretty hard to watch”.

“I think if we tidy up those errors and don’t give away as many penalties, our performance would have been a lot better. That’s the work-on for this week,” Harris-Tavita said.

He said when an error happened, it was important to move on from it and follow it up with a positive play rather than trying to make up for the error and making another invertedly.

“The best teams when they make an error, they defend it and then they get back into the game by doing the fundamentals well. We’re just not at the stage yet … we’re following an error with another and we just need to get that out of our game,” he explained.

Feels good to be a Warrior

Jesse Arthars, who is on loan to the Warriors this season from the Broncos has embraced the opportunity to gain more NRL experience in Queensland and said it felt good to make his Warriors’ debut last weekend.

“It was awesome. It was really special not only for myself but for my family as well that could be there in the crowd. I was just stoked to get a crack and put on a Warriors’ jersey,” he said.

“Obviously, being a young kiwi kid supporting the Warriors growing up and moving to Australia I never thought I’d get this opportunity. I’m here for the year and will go back to Brisbane and see what happens from there.”

For now, he and the squad will work on fixing up the little things they didn’t get right last weekend ahead of Friday night’s clash against the Tigers.

“I think Brownie made a good point about it when we had our review. The younger players coming through, they need to understand that if they make an error early in the game, not to dwell on it. We need to learn to move on from it and get on with our next job,” he said.

“Respecting first-grade”

One of the Warriors’ younger players, fullback Reece Walsh, has taken notice of the coaching team’s directive to get the basics right.

“The clear message for us was they’re not going to cop the silly errors or the silly things that myself – kicking the ball early, giving away possession – they’re not going to cop that stuff anymore,” Walsh explained.

“We’re first-grade players and even though we’re young, we’re playing in the best competition in the world. We’re not just going to get away with doing silly stuff like that anymore.

“At the end of day, this is our job and this is what we do for a living, so we need to start catching those balls, we need to start putting ourselves in better positions, we need to start just respecting first-grade a little bit more than what we have.”

When asked how he rated his first game for the season last weekend, Walsh didn’t mince words.

“If I’m being honest, I’m pretty disappointed in myself and the way I played. There were some key moments and some key things in the game I just didn’t get right. Lucky enough there’s another game this week and I can go out there and take my learnings and just keep trying to put my right foot forward,” he said.

The 19-year-old said he was still learning and admitted that sometimes he forgot that and was hard on himself when he didn’t perform as well as he should.

“I want to be this fantastic player now and it’s easy to forget how many games I’ve played and how young I am,” he said.

Walsh said he was fortunate to have the best fullback that ever played, Billy Slater as a mentor as well as experienced players and coaches at the Warriors to guide him.

“I’m just really grateful to have the coaching staff and the players that I do at this club that keep chipping me when I’m doing things wrong, tell me when I’m doing good things and where I need to keep working,” he said.

“I’m pretty grateful to be in the position and I’m pretty fortunate to be in a position to be able to have a conversation with someone like Billy.

“Whenever there’s an opportunity, he’ll give me a call and give me some tips on how I can get better. He just inspires me to keep going and work hard.

“Who better to get that advice than from probably the best fullback we’ve ever seen.”

Walsh is not looking too far ahead and is not distracted by speculation that he will go to another club next year.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS

Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney

6pm, Friday, March 25

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