ZB

Another week, another halves pairing as injuries hit Warriors early

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Mar 2022, 9:37am
Chanel Harris-Tavita will partner with Kodi Nikorima in the Warriors halves this weekend. (Photo / Photosport)
Chanel Harris-Tavita will partner with Kodi Nikorima in the Warriors halves this weekend. (Photo / Photosport)

Another week, another halves pairing as injuries hit Warriors early

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Mar 2022, 9:37am

Another week, another halves combination. 

It's been among the stories of the Warriors' young NRL season, and remains the case for Friday night's match against Wests Tigers in Sydney. 

Kodi Nikorima will return to the run-on side to partner Chanel Harris-Tavita this week, with Ash Taylor joining Shaun Johnson (pectoral) in the casualty ward. Taylor came out of the side's frustrating 20-18 loss to the Gold Coast Titans last weekend with a hip complaint and, because of the short turnaround between games, he won't be risked for the match. 

It presents Nikorima with another opportunity to stake his claim to a starting role in the highly competitive Warriors halves unit this season as a himself, Taylor and Harris-Tavita are without contracts beyond 2022. 

"It's exciting," Harris-Tavita said of the challenge ahead of the Warriors halves this season. 

"If you look at all four halves, we all bring something different to the table, and whatever the combination is, that's out of our control. We let Brownie (coach Nathan Brown) choose who's playing, but whoever is playing, we like to play to each other's strengths...we'll see how we go this week." 

Harris-Tavita and Nikorima have teamed up in the playmaking roles before, last doing so in a loss to the Melbourne Storm in June last year. Last week, Harris-Tavita's selection kept Nikorima out of the team, and Brown noted Nikorima had some areas in his game that needed addressing after their round one loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons. 

He will get to do that as he leads an otherwise unchanged side around the park against Tigers. 

Through two rounds of the competition, both sides are without a win and have already found themselves tipped by pundits to be among those fighting to ward off the wooden spoon come year's end. 

The Warriors could just as easily have been 2-0 to start the year, having led both matches only to be unable to go on with the job. Plenty has been said about their performance against the Titans at the weekend and the simple opportunities that were missed on the edges, and Brown has stayed true and not swung the axe on some of the younger players who made rookie errors. 

He'll be hoping to see his faith rewarded against the second-worst defensive side through the opening two rounds. Through 160 minutes of football, the Tigers have conceded 52 points, fewer than only the Manly Sea Eagles (54). 

The Warriors' defensive record isn't much better (48 points against); however, their attack has looked promising this season even with those missed opportunities as they have put up the eighth-most points through the opening rounds. 

Warriors: Reece Walsh, Adam Pompey, Jesse Arthars, Rocco Berry, Marcelo Montoya, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Kodi Nikorima, Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan, Matt Lodge, Euan Aitken, Eliesa Katoa, Josh Curran. 

Interchange (from): Jazz Tevaga, Bunty Afoa, Aaron Pene, Bayley Sironen, Jack Murchie, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Taniela Otukolo, Pride Petterson-Robati, Valingi Kepu, Junior Ratuva, Edward Kosi (seven to be omitted).