Saturday, 8 October 2016

Faither Report Card - 2016. Part 3 of 5

As the 2016 review hits the halfway point with Part 3 of the Faither Report Card the NRL season has officially drawn to a close. With that, i'd like to extend a sincere congratulations to the Cronulla Sharks for taking out the 2016 Premiership. A long time coming for fans, let's hope as Warriors fans we don't have to wait quite as long.

Before we take a look at the next players in line for the Report Card, let's take a quick look back at those who we graded in Part 2

James Gavet - Grade: D+
Charlie Gubb - Grade C+
Ben Henry - Grade: N/A
Ata Hingano - Grade: C+
Konrad Hurrell - Grade: E
Shaun Johnson - Grade: C
Solomone Kata - Grade A- 

Shaun Lane
Second Row - 1 Appearance
Grade: N/A
A truly bizarre move to trade in Lane for RFM. I'm not sure what, if any, thought process was going on with this player trade but it was one that certainly saw the Warriors organisation draw the short straw without a doubt.

With very limited minutes in his one and only 1st Grade Appearance for the club, it makes you wonder why the club agreed to swap a back rower for another back rower, especially considering the depth we have in that position while being clearly light weight for depth in others. Lane as a Warrior will go down as yet another unexplainable decision in Warriors history.

Thomas Leuluai
Stand-Off/Hooker/Halfback - 18 Appearances
Grade: A-
After his 2015 season was ruined by a season ending injury it took some time for Tommy to regain form and confidence but when he managed to find his mojo he was an absolute superstar for the Warriors throughout the course of the season.

Very much an underrated player in the opinions of plenty of Warriors Supporters (for reasons i cannot quite understand), Tommy will be sorely missed in 2017 and will leave a substantially sized hole within the organisation. A complete professional both on and off the field, Leuluai does plenty of the "unnoticed" stuff which is critical in regards to team performance and without that work the team would struggle to function in a manner required to be competitive at NRL level. Tommy isn't the kind of half that will feature predominantly in the highlight reels but in terms of his football awareness, organisation, communication and defensive work he is up there with the best halves in the business.

Will undoubtedly be sorely missed with or without the 2017 signing in Foran. 

Jacob Lillyman
Prop - 22 Appearances 
Grade: C
In what seems to be a frustrating story of "same old same old" that seems to be unfolding during each season with Lillyman, 2016 once again saw him playing some pretty good footy leading up to the Origin period only for it to fall away once the series was over. Leading the metres for the club and coming in 2nd behind only Simon Mannering for tackles made during the opening 10 or so rounds, it was disappointing to watch him fall away once again during the back end of the season in a time where his team really needed a man of his ability to lead the pack by setting an example to the rest of the forwards.

Without doubt has the ability to lead from the front and help the side get on the front foot when he decides to roll up the sleeves and get involved in the arm wrestle but unfortunately seems to lack the ability to do that consistently over an entire season, sadly an all too familiar theme with the Warriors. The sort of form he seems to find when playing in a QLD jumper would be incredible to have when with the Warriors, let's hope we can see that in 2017. 

Sam Lisone
Prop - 21 Appearances
Grade: C+
2016 proved to be a somewhat solid yet unspectacular second season in the top grade for Lisone. After being caught up in the early season off-field drama involving himself and a few of his team mates, i must admit i was expecting the gravity of the situation to take a bigger toll on him than what seemed to eventuate.

Lisone was guilty of some poor on-field decisions although it's hard to come up with an argument that would even slightly suggest that he didn't roll the sleeves up, look to get involved and have a red hot dig over the course of the season.

As is the case with 99.9% of all young players while they find their feet at NRL level, Lisone at times made some lazy efforts in defense which resulted directly to points that could have easily been avoided. He also put himself into first and second receiver far too often which time and time again disrupted the flow of the Warriors attack and there were a couple of occasions where we could all see as clear as day, him attempting to give our International hooker a gentle nudge out of the way at the hooker position at the play the ball. Add to that the field goal attempt and it's fairly easy to see that a very clear and in no uncertain terms message needs to be issued to Sam from the incoming coach, do what you do best. Tuck the ball under the wing and bend the defensive line, get the boys on the front foot.

We don't need him getting in the way and trying to be the hero, we have the best game breakers in the game. I have a feeling we are going to see a massive season from Lisone in 2017, a season where he stamps his claim as one of, if not the, best prop the playing roster has to offer.

Tuimoala Lolohea
Utility Back - 22 Appearances
Grade: D-
A player that seems to have won over a high percentage of the Warriors supporters base, on what basis he has done that i am not too sure but it is evident, that for reasons unknown to myself, he has a very healthy amount of support for doing very little if i am being perfectly honest.

The age old argument goes along the lines of "oh but he never got a chance to play in a position for long enough to make it his own". With that argument neither has Jono Wright, yet fans sit in front of their TV's or at the game eagerly awaiting Wright to make any sort of mistake, no matter how big or small, just so they can jump online and criticize him in a brutal fashion. The other thing is that while Lolohea was (unsuccessfully) being given opportunities to lock down a position in the backline, the moment another player was given half a sniff they grabbed the chance they were given by the scruff of the neck (Fusitua and Maumalo as examples) and weren't willing to give up the jersey they had EARNED.

I am under the impression that a lot of the "love" shown towards Lolohea was due to the unwarranted criticism and hatred shown towards Tomkins last year, whatever player it was replacing the Englishman i think would have won the hearts of the Warriors Nation. In the games Tui stepped in as FB for the injured Tomkins in 2015, it was with complete certainty that you knew when Lolohea was stepping up to the line as a ball playing FB in a sweeping backline move that the play unfolding would be held up ever so slightly due to Lolohea being either half a pace in front or behind the play, which in turn slowed the move down, giving defence that extra half second to get in position and inevitably defending the play comfortably. He was also out performed late in the season in the halves (granted, in a struggling outfit) by a man (Lino) who had far less experience and natural talent. He failed to step up then when given a shot and 2016 proved to be more of the same.

His best football played with the club has been on the right wing outside Ayshford, yet even then opposition sides summed him up fairly quickly. We have better options at FB, wing, centre and halves, so unless Tui is happy to play a utility tole of the bench in 2017 and beyond i believe he is surplus to requirements and the over rated tag may end up being bigger than any future prices tags.

Sione Lousi
Prop - 1 Appearance
Grade: N/A
Another season cut short through injury and unfortunately will be remembered as a player who failed to live up to the expectations people had of him from a younger age as well as the majority of his performances in first grade resembling that of his last name.

Isaac Luke
Hooker - 20 Appearances
Grade: B-
To say it was disappointing to see the sort of shape Luke came back from his off-season in would be an under statement. In what was a very high profile signing for the club it was border line disgraceful to have him turn up to training in that condition.

His early season form was affected thanks to his lazy off-season just as much as it was going through a time where he child was unwell and stuck in hospital. It's important to remember that these guys are not robots and are human like you or i and like ourselves, issues within our private life can and will effect our ability to perform the job we are employed to do at the level expected of us.

Luke's form certainly improved as the season progressed but he never reached the levels that the club and fans alike were hoping for and knew he was capable of. Hopefully with a solid pre-season and a clear mind to start 2017 we can see Luke start the year nice and fresh and play to the level we all had hoped for this season because if he starts 2017 strong it's hard to imagine watching the squad struggle through the opening rounds. It may well come down to how Luke runs out in Round 1 as to how our season pans out.

Written by G.Sykes

Faither - "by the fans. for the fans"


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