Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Aussies: Warriors Best 1-17 from Across the Ditch

Written by Gareth Sykes

It's not an uncommon occurrence to come across a debate within a NZ Warriors fan page where you have one group of people arguing that "we have too many Aussies in the side" while another group will argue just as passionately "we need more Aussies".

Quite frankly, i think the argument is absurd. The powers that be within the club spend the money on a player who they feel will best fulfill the required role within the playing group. A players country of birth has nothing to do with anything and to be honest, it leaves me scratching my head why this argument even arises to begin with.

With that being said, let's take a look at the best 1-17 that the NZ Warriors have had within the ranks over the years that were born in the land down under.

1. Brent Webb: 2002-2006

Born in Cairns on the 8th of November 1979. Webb was the leading try scorer in the QLD Cup in 2001.  Anderson spotted him and quickly chased his signature to bring him to the Auckland based side where he went on to make his NRL debut in the 2002 season. Voted Supporters Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004, Webb went on to play 103 games, scoring 39 tries and kicking 27 goals for a tally of 210 points for the club.  Brent also played international footy with the Kiwis thanks to the residency rule.

2. Todd Byrne: 2005-2007

Born in Sydney on the 16th of July 1978.  "Skinny" or "Bones", as he was known among team mates, will forever best be known as "that guy" who looked certain to score a run-away try in the 2003 GF before Sattler pulled off one of the greatest cover tackles in GF history to stop a certain 4 pointer.  Byrne played 43 games for the Warriors and scored 21 tries in the process.

3. Brent Tate: 2008-2010

Born in Roma on the 3rd of March 1982. Injuries were cruel to Tate, not just with his time at the Warriors but over his entire career. Although we didn't get to see as much of him as we would have liked in Warriors colours he still provided many memorable moments. Arguably our best Australian born signing in the backline, Tate ended up playing 48 games with the club and managed to score 12 tries in that time.

4. Ivan Cleary: 2000-2002

Born in Sydney on the 1st of March 1971. Although Warriors supporters will remember him as a fullback during his time with the club, Cleary gets the nod at centre after spending some time in this position during his time with North Sydney, who had Matt Seers at FB and Sydney City who had Dale Shearer at fullback in 97. Cleary played 53 games with the Warriors, scoring 12 tries, kicking 195 goals and 1 field goal.

5. Wade Mckinnon: 2007-2010

Born in Sydney on the 12th of February 1981. Another player out of his preferred position but gaining selection due to filling in on the wing during his time at the Eels where Parramatta preferred to run with Luke Burt in the FB role. Wade was one of the best support players in the business and often picked up an offload which sent him sprinting away into open pastures. McKinnon played 54 games for the Warriors, picking up 16 tries along the way.

6. James Maloney: 2010-2012

Born in Orange on the 15th of June 1986. Contracted to the Melbourne Storm in the 2009 season, Maloney struggled to crack the first grade side, only managing to make 4 appearances throughout the season. His first season at the Warriors (2010) proved to be a breakout year, scoring 188 points including 10 tries. The form shown in his debut season at his new club put him in contention for the Dally M Award and was also shortlisted for the standoff of the year award at the Rugby League International Federations awards during the same season. Jimmy played 75 games for the Warriors, scoring 24 tries, kicking 222 goals as well as 7 field goals leaving him with an impressive 547 points with the club

7. Greg Alexander: 1995-1996

Born in Penrith on the 4th of March 1965. One of the original members of the Auckland Warriors side, Alexander spent most of his time at halfback as well as switching between the fullback and 5/8 positions due to the depth the club had in the halves. During the clubs second season, Brandy was handed the captaincy and started the season as first choice halfback before injury opened up the opportunity for Stacey Jones to claim the position. This resulted in Alexander seeing out the remainder of the year at fullback. Greg played 37 games for the club, scoring 11 tries and kicking 8 goals.

8. Steve Price (c): 2005-2009

Born in Dalby on the 12th of March 1974. Regarded as one of the best signings in the clubs history, Price was handed the captaincy reigns from the moment he arrived at the club. Price seemed to just get better with age and at 33 he broke his own record of metres gained by a forward by racking up 306 metres from 33 hit ups against the Cronulla Sharks. 7 weeks later against the Sydney City Roosters he again broke his own record after running for a total of 323 metres. Price played 91 games for the Warriors and scored 13 tries.

9. PJ Marsh: 2002-2003

Born in Gladstone on the 19th of February 1980. PJ was a member of the first Warriors side to reach a Grand Final taking his place in the team as the starting hooker. Unfortunately during the 2003 season, Marsh suffered a serious neck injury which ruled him out of the remainder of the season as well as the entire 2004 season. PJ played 35 times with the club and scored 5 tries. kicked 12 goals and 1 field goal during that time.

10. Richard Villasanti: 2001-2006

Born in Canberra on the 20th of May 1980. You would be hard pressed to find another prop who had a bigger drop out than Villasanti. Richard was a member of the 2002 Grand Final team and is well remembered for that head first tackle on Brad Fittler during the game. "Villa the Gorilla" gained a reputation for being a big hitting impact player and in 2003 he became the first Warriors player to represent Australia. Richard played 96 games with the club and scored 21 tries.

11. Kevin Campion: 2001-2002

Born in Sarina on the 18th of September 1971. After playing in 2 Grand Finals (1998 & 2000) with the Brisbane Broncos, Campion signed with the Warriors for the 2001 season and was a member of the Warriors 2002 Grand Final side. Campion also played for the Dragons in the 1996 Grand Final making him one of only 5 players who have played in Grand Finals for 3 separate clubs. Campion played 44 games with the Warriors while scoring 3 tries.

12. Jacob Lillyman: 2009-Current

Born in Richmond on the 7th of March 1984. Another selected out of position as far as Warriors fans are concerned but gains selection in the back row after plying his trade there for the North Queensland Cowboys at the start of his career. Lillyman is currently contracted with the Warriors until the end of the 2017 season which will make it 9 straight seasons with the club. Earlier this season, against the Sydney City Rooster, Lillyman became only the 11th player to notch up 150 games with the Warriors. During that game he went on to make 159 metres and 31 tackles. Jacob has played 157 games with the club to date and has scored 6 tries.

13. Michael Luck: 2006-2012

Born in Gatton on the 21st of April 1982. Luck was named Clubman of the year in his first 2 seasons with the Warriors and in 2007 went on to make an NRL record breaking 74 tackles during a match. At the end of the 2009 season Luck picked up the Warriors biggest award, the Club Player of the Year. Throughout his time with the club Lucky showed exactly what it meant to be a Warrior with his courage and ability to get past the pain barrier and play through injury every other week. Michael set an example for the rest of the squad and showed what it meant to put your body on the line and not let your brothers down. Luck played a total of 150 games with the Warriors and scored 7 tries.


14. Nathan Friend: 2012-2015
15. Mark Tookey: 2000-2004
16. Jeremy Latimore: 2010-2011
17. Ryan Hoffman: 2015-Current

Coach: Daniel Anderson: 2001-2004


Join the Warriors Faither Supporter Group by clicking HERE
"Like" the Warriors Faither Supporter Page by clicking HERE 
Follow us on Twitter by clicking HERE
Email us at

Faither: It's not just a slogan, it's a movement

No comments:

Post a Comment