2021 pre-season.

Discussion in 'New Zealand Warriors and NZRL' started by Rich102, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. Rich102

    Rich102 Moderator Staff Member

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    Young players markedly outnumbered those with NRL experience in the opening week of the Vodafone Warriors’ preseason campaign.

    On day one prop Bunty Afoa, coming back from knee surgery, and train-and-trial half Jayden Nikorima were the only NRL players on hand with wingers Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu’a joining them before the week was out.

    Around them have been plenty of exciting prospects, most of whom have emerged from the Vodafone Warriors’ development system.

    “There’s some terrific talent coming through and having the chance to train with the NRL squad,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.

    “A lot of them have a big future in the game and they’ll benefit hugely from this exposure. It’s invaluable for their development.”

    Among the group are middle forward Jyris Glamuzina, hooker Temple Kalepo, winger Edward Kosi and back rower Isaiah Vagana, who have all come through the club’s system playing at Jersey Flegg Cup under-20 level as well as having a brief taste of Canterbury Cup football.

    Another player in the group is Preston Riki, the Sonny Fai Medal winner as the Vodafone Warriors’ 2018 Jersey Flegg player of the year.

    Joining those five players are strapping outside backs Viliami Vailea (18) and Jeremiah Asi (17) who both made a huge impact in the Vodafone Warriors’ truncated S G Ball Cup under-18 campaign early this season. Both have excelled in Auckland’s First XV rugby union competition, Asi with St Peter’s College and Vailea with Aorere College. In his five S G Ball games this year, Asi scored three tries while Vailea had two in three games.

    Also involved are other S G Ball products in 18-year-old middle forwards Leyton Finau and twins Vailingi and Otukinekina Kepu plus outstanding hooker Taniela Otukolo. Otukolo was among the competition’s best players before the season was stopped short, scoring a staggering nine tries in six games.

    Two other players rated as ones to watch are Francis Manuleleua and Zyon Maiu’u. Both have combined rugby league with First XV rugby union, Manuleleua impressing as a big, athletic and skilful first five-eighth with the King's College First XV and powerful back rower Maiu’u with Kelston Boys’ High School.

    https://www.warriors.kiwi/news/2020/11/21/young-prospects-on-show/
     
  2. Rich102

    Rich102 Moderator Staff Member

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    Warriors coach Nathan Brown says the club will take it easy with Jayden Nikorima.

    The former Roosters playmaker is on a train and trial contract with the Warriors, as he hopes to reignite his NRL career which stalled in 2017 when he was sacked for failing a drugs test for the second time.

    The 24-year-old Nikorima, the younger brother of Kodi, returned to New Zealand for the Warriors’ pre-season training and Brown has been impressed with how he has been going.

    However, the path back into the NRL is not straight-forward for him. There are plenty of players ahead of him in the Warriors’ pecking order and it has been a long time since he has played footy at a high level.

    Nikorima was on the books for Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup this year but because of the coronavirus pandemic the season was cancelled.

    “Jayden was an extremely talented player as a kid,” Brown said of the former Junior Kangaroo.

    “I was in England when he was at his height as a young player and he went to the Roosters as a key signing for them but obviously things away from the field did not work out for him.

    “Talking to Jayden now and other people, he has certainly got his life away from footy sorted out.

    “Between us and Redcliffe, we have provided him an opportunity to get his career going again.

    “He is only 24, he is certainly very hungry and he has got talent. The key for everyone, and Jayden included, is not to expect too much too early, because he basically has not played for three years.

    “If he can have a good pre-season with us and then build on the back of that, then where could he get to?”

    At Nikorima’s age, it is too early to write him off but it could take him all of next season to get up to speed.

    “We have seen plenty of middle or later aged players lately come out of the Queensland Cup and in the NRL and carve out good careers, none more than Cody Walker, he did not hit his straps until he was 25, 26,” Brown said.

    “Cody has shown that for players who do not get themselves sorted early in their careers, if they get themselves sorted and knuckle down and train hard, if they have got the talent they can make it.

    “We are quite hopeful with Jayden but we are prepared to be steady and slow with him.

    “He is training well at the moment and he is very keen, so there is no reason why he can’t be a mature aged player who comes back from nowhere and forges a career in the NRL.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/leagu...n-nikorima-back-to-his-best-says-nathan-brown
     
  3. SmashEmBro

    SmashEmBro Juniors

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    I know he's not technically on our books, but jeeze when have we even had two junior kangaroos halves on our books at the same time.

    Do we think either he or Sean are going to push and have a decent crack at first grade next year?
     
  4. Big Marn

    Big Marn Juniors

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  5. spear tackle

    spear tackle Juniors

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    It possible, one or two injuries during the season and who knows?
     

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