The Warriors have put together yet another “absolutely disastrous” performance against the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
Jake Trbojevic and Haumole Olakau’atu sent a not-so-subtle message to Blues coach Brad Fittler that they should remain on his radar for the rest of the series as the Sea Eagles embarrassed the woeful Warriors 44-12 on Saturday night.
A week after he found out that he wasn’t in the New South Wales squad, Trbojevic – often the heart and soul of the team – produced his best 80 minutes of the season as he and his teammates toyed with a defence that didn’t want to be at 4 Pines Park.
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The stand-in skipper was outstanding in the middle, constantly putting his big forwards into half gaps with soft hands while he also ran with more gusto than we’ve seen from him in 2022.
It was the perfect response from the Blues veteran after a difficult week, and he wasn’t the only NSW hopeful who put his hand up for selection later in the series.
Olakau’atu has had a terrific season on the right edge but you’d struggle to find a better game from him in a Manly jersey.
He crashed over for his side’s second try of the night with a trademark carry close to the ruck, ran for a whopping 144 metres, busted tackles at will and terrorised Chanel Harris-Tavita and Marcelo Montoya whenever they went near him.
This was the game the Sea Eagles needed after three-straight losses, and it would’ve been particularly pleasing for their fans considering they were without superstars Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic.
Soft as butter
A disastrous season has just hit rock bottom for the Warriors.
They conceded 70 points to the Storm on Anzac Day but their first half was somehow worse and has heaped even more pressure on coach Nathan Brown whose future must now be in some doubt.
Some of the tries they conceded on Saturday night weren’t of an NRL standard. Prop Toff Sipley opened the scoring from dummy-half but that wasn’t the worst of it.
One play after Bunty Afoa was sent to the sin bin for what should have been a penalty try to Reuben Garrick, Martin Taupau crashed through for the softest try of the season from what was supposed to be a settler.
It looked like he grounded the ball well short but the Bunker didn’t have the evidence to overturn the on-field decision. It summed up the night for the Warriors who only fired up on the stroke of halftime when Reece Walsh was belted as the siren sounded.
They were able to score a couple of tries in the second half but there must be concerns over Shaun Johnson who has lost all his spark in attack.
“It has been diabolical from the Warriors. Absolutely disastrous,” former New South Wales Blues representative Michael Ennis told Fox League.
“Frustration spilled over for the Warriors in the end. There was nearly a stink at halftime because they are so frustrated with their performance.”
All night long
You’ve got to tip your hat to Morgan Harper for not kicking stones after his horror night marking Siosifa Talakai a few weeks ago.
The Sea Eagles centre was hooked at halftime after he was beaten time and time again by Cronulla’s nuggety tank, but Harper has returned a different player.
The Lionel Richie look-alike produced one of the try-savers of the season when he somehow held Jack Murchie up over the line and then capped off a super Saturday when he broke through to set up Reuben Garrick for the sealer.
— NCA NewsWire