Favorite Backline Pairings

Discussion in 'New Zealand Warriors and NZRL' started by Fufu Andronez, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. Fufu Andronez

    Fufu Andronez First Grade

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    Was looking back at our past players and we have had some pretty decent combinations in the Backline (excluding fullbacks. Some of my favorites include :

    Wingers:
    - Fa'afili & Meli
    - Vatuvei & Locke
    - Fusitua & Maumalo

    Centres
    - Toopi & Carlaw
    - Ropati & Tate
    - Hurrell & Laumape (still miss him)

    Centre/Wing
    - Hiku & Fusitua
    - Toopi & Meli
    - Ropati & Vatuvei (pretend defence isn't a thing)

    Honorable mentions:
    - Joel Moon
    - Skinny Byrne
    - Justin Murphy (liked him because he was rapid)

    Interested to hear who you guys enjoyed seeing paired together. Clear number 1 combo for me would have to be Toopi and Meli
     
  2. jaseg

    jaseg Juniors

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    I think pretending defence isn't a thing is necessary for all those edge pairings, lol

    Vatuvei/Laumape was great, for the stupidly small number of games we got it. Only time Manu's edge looked secure on defence.

    Fuuuck that made me angry,
     
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  3. captainwarrior

    captainwarrior Juniors

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    Don’t think we’ve ever seen a Warriors backline pairing like Toopi and Meli in ‘02-03. They were just dynamic, and having Lauti’iti (‘02) and Faumuina (‘03) inside them just gave them even more opportunities. Still remember that round the corner pass from Toopi to Meli in the ‘02 QF against Canberra. Brilliant.

    Ropati gave some good service to Manu when he was in form too, and Hiku served up some great balls to set up Fusitua in 2018. Also rated the Anderson/Toopi centre combo too, they both had good seasons in 03.
     
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  4. Fufu Andronez

    Fufu Andronez First Grade

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    If and buts and coulds and woulds.

    BUT IF Laumape doesn't injure his knee after that breakout season do we think he would have still bailed back to Wellington?

    A Laumape/Fusitua combo would and could have probably rivalled Toopi/Meli
     
  5. Blair

    Blair First Grade

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    We were a long way from the great days but, working with what we had at the time, I thought the link play between Johnson and Tomkins was good.
     
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  6. Fufu Andronez

    Fufu Andronez First Grade

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    I really like Tomkins, I wish he made it down under. Probably should have gone to the raiders haha
     
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  7. SmashEmBro

    SmashEmBro Juniors

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    The Toopi/Meli combo was one of my favourites for sure. Have to agree with what Captain said above, with Lautiti inside them, jeeze that was the best edge we've ever had.

    I think if Hiku stayed inside Fusitu’a last year we'd probably be talking about that combo too. It's no coincidence that Hikus been inside the NRL Winger of the Year 2x years in a row.
     
  8. Penrose Warrior

    Penrose Warrior First Grade

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    Yeah, I reckon he still goes. He was always a union player. He had no real guarantees going back to union but did it.
     
  9. Penrose Warrior

    Penrose Warrior First Grade

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    One of the most underrated combos and one I loved was Witt and Rovelli. Individually, some of the greatest plodders to walk the earth. But my god did they light it up at times in 2007. I remember Rovelli tearing the Titans a new one that year at home, and Witt's kicking streak was other-worldly.
     
  10. Fufu Andronez

    Fufu Andronez First Grade

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    Keeping on the theme, we have been able to squeeze the juice out of some backline plodders in the past. names that come to mind:

    - Skinny Byrne
    - Michael Crockett
    - Aiden Kirk
    - Tony Martin
    - Bill Tupou
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  11. Beavers Headgear

    Beavers Headgear First Grade

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    Interesting with Toopi, he had an outstanding 10 week period and peaked around 02-03 but generally i remember him as very much an up and down player for the most part. Understand though why he is rated so highly by Warriors fans because he did have that purple patch

    One of his not so flash games I remember clearly was when he turned up with a huge mohawk and the hook came out for him not long after halftime
     
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  12. Beavers Headgear

    Beavers Headgear First Grade

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    Am I being harsh putting Justin Murphy in that group ?
     
  13. Fufu Andronez

    Fufu Andronez First Grade

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    In my eyes yes, but thats possibly just because I am fanboy of his haha. For others you are probably spot on
     
  14. Big Marn

    Big Marn Juniors

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    yeah abit harsh. Murphy would run rings around that lot, especially Tupou
     
  15. Penrose Warrior

    Penrose Warrior First Grade

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    Interesting choice of names there.

    Two of my favourites in Byrne and Kirk, both outstanding people and good players. Kirk's 2008 in particular was completely out of the blue. He was a gun that year.

    Not sure about Crockett and Tupou? Crockett did some decent stuff but then clotheslined a Bulldogs player and got sent off, got charged with sexual assault then was surplus to requirements in 2008. Tupou was a massive plodder who was made to look good on the end of the chain. Very average player, defensively particularly I seem to recall he was mud.
     
  16. Fufu Andronez

    Fufu Andronez First Grade

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    Yeah it was more in reference to the fact that they probably wouldn't have/ and in most cases didn't get a chance at other clubs(Byrne & Martin the exceptions), but we actually managed to squeeze some decent performances out of them. A nod to Ivan there.

    I actually liked Crockett as he was very very quick (back when we valued speed in the Backline) but just never kicked on. Remember the send off but had no idea about the assault stuff. Might have had something to do with it?

    Billy T from memory was out of sight out of mind on the right wing while Manu was in his dominant years.
     
  17. Penrose Warrior

    Penrose Warrior First Grade

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    Yeah, I was in the media at the time the Crockett assault stuff came up. I have no doubt it considerably affected his career. It hung over his head into the following season, and he actually wasn't cleared until the end of 2008 - by which time we'd released him. Never played another NRL game, at what I think was about 25 years of age
     
  18. Penrose Warrior

    Penrose Warrior First Grade

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    But yeah I agree, there were a lot of players in the Cleary era that wouldn't have got game time anywhere else but did well with us.

    Just off the top of my head, guys like Rovelli (I know he went to NQ after us and played a bit, but not as a regular starter), Heremaia, Kirk, Gatis etc. Those guys all played big hands in finals campaigns (not Rovelli so much)
     
  19. sup42

    sup42 Juniors

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    Kearney and Jones was pretty special.
     
  20. Manu Vatuvei

    Manu Vatuvei Coach

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    Yeah there’s a lot of blurry memories around Toopi’s ‘purple patch’

    His best year was probably 2002 (I think he was top try scorer?) but to a certain extent he flew under the radar that year. It really wasn’t until late 2003 that he started getting huge raps in the media. What people forget is he actually had a mostly shit 2003 season and in fact got dropped for several games mid-season. He had only just got back into first grade when he went on a hot run of maybe 5 or 6 games which included finals games and a test hattrick against Australia, and suddenly he had gone from ‘fringe first grader’ to ‘best centre in the world’.

    Likewise, you could best describe his entire career post-2003 as a steaming pile of shit, yet he managed the extraordinary feat of a second hattrick against Australia. It all amounts to a narrative that doesn’t fit what actually happened.
     
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