Ben Francis: How the Warriors rated in a disappointing 2019 season

OPINION: Another year, another underwhelming Warriors season... 

After defying the odds and qualifying for the 2018 playoffs, the Warriors tumbled back down the table with another dismal campaign.

At times, it seemed nothing was going the Warriors' way - from refereeing decisions to injuries - which all culminated into a tough year for the team and their loyal supporters. 

While they were all factors, the Warriors were also their own worst enemies at times. 

Some players shone bright, others struggled, which has many fans already worried for next year. 

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 9

Once again, the skipper was the standout player for his team. What made him more impressive was the fact that teams found a way to limit his impact, but he still found ways to stay busy. 

Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was once again the best player for the Warriors in 2019.
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was once again the best player for the Warriors in 2019. Photo credit: Photosport

Despite the Warriors form, he managed to improve on most of last year's numbers that saw him claim the Dally M Medal and will no doubt put him among contenders for the award again in 2019. 

David Fusitu'a 4

Last year's top try-scorer had a disappointing season, hampered by injuries and maybe a loss of confidence. 

His 23-try haul in 2018 was achieved with Tohu Harris and Peta Hiku inside him, but he's had to adjust to different players in those positions this year. 

On top of that, he sometimes appeared to not back himself diving in the corner, like we witnessed 12 months ago. 

Ken Maumalo 8

The young winger continues to go from strength to strength, producing a breakout season that saw him finish as one of the NRL's best metre-eaters (4387) and try scorers (17). 

His haul was that impressive, he scored more tries this year than during his first four NRL seasons combined. 

Most importantly, he silenced some of his critics and showed what he can do when given the ball for a change. 

Ken Maumalo and Peta Hiku formed a deadly combination in 2019.
Ken Maumalo and Peta Hiku formed a deadly combination in 2019. Photo credit: Photosport

Peta Hiku 7

The centre proved his utility value for the Warriors this year, playing 23 of the club's 24 games, primarily at left centre, but also filling in at fullback and halfback. 

He finished the year with 10 try assists, while also scoring six himself - his most since 2015 for Manly. 

Tackling appears to still be an issue, though. 

Patrick Herbert 5

The young centre made his NRL debut this year and showed plenty of promise in just eight first-grade games. Sadly, after cementing his credentials as the starting centre moving forward, he struggled with a hamstring injury that saw him miss nine of the last 10 games. 

Solomone Kata 3

Started the first games of the season, but quickly fell out of favour and was demoted to reserve grade, before jumping ship to Melbourne, where he hasn't played. 

According to reports, Kata will link with the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby franchise. 

Gerard Beale 4

Similar to the Warriors, he just had no luck. When given opportunities, he never did anything spectacular. 

Gerard Beale suffered another serious leg injury.
Gerard Beale suffered another serious leg injury. Photo credit: AAP

Sadly, his season came to a painful end, with a gruesome leg injury that may see him pondering his future, once his contract expires at the end of next season. 

Adam Pompey 4

Quiet in his first few games for the Warriors, but looked good against the Rabbitohs and Raiders, where he scored tries. 

Blake Ayshford 3

Exactly like Beale, never did anything amazing in his seven appearances - two of which were off the bench - but it was nice seeing him back, after missing all of last year with a back injury. 

Will likely resume his career in the Super League or hang up his boots in 2020. 

Blake Green 4

While the Aussie playmaker struggled, he wasn't helped by the 'Shaun Johnson treatment', where he was given lots of other halves to play alongside and no time to build chemistry. 

Started the season with Adam Keighran, before Chanel Harris-Tavita came along and then Kodi Nikorima, before the latter two swapped towards the end of the season. 

He also was out injured for a period, when Kearney was still deciding on a permanent replacement for Johnson. 

Blake Green had his struggles during the Warriors' 2019 campaign.
Blake Green had his struggles during the Warriors' 2019 campaign. Photo credit: Photosport

His biggest failing of the season has been his kicking game, especially on last tackle.

Green did end the season in style with arguably his best game against the Radiers, where he scored the game-winning try. 

Kodi Nikorima 5

By his own admission, the halfback didn't hit top form, after arriving mid-season from the Brisbane Broncos. 

Hopefully, a full pre-season with the Warriors will see the Kiwis playmaker hit full stride in 2020.

Chanel Harris-Tavita 7

The rise of Harris-Tavita was one of the few bright spots for the Warriors this season. In just his second game, he was forced to take the reigns, after Blake Green got injured.

Sometimes, he served as a utility off the bench, filling in at dummy half, and while he didn't run the ball so much, it was great to see him play with so much heart, despite the tough year. 

Adam Keighran 4

After starting the first three games, he quickly fell out of favour and only featured twice more off the bench, mainly filling in a dummy half. 

Looked good when given chances, but it would have been nice to see him play in the centres, where he was named alongside Patrick Herbert in last year's NSW Cup Team of the Year. 

Issac Luke 4

The former New Zealand international's time at the club came to a frustrating end, with a below-par campaign. 

After a poor start to the season, coming back from shoulder surgery, he was dropped to reserve grade, but injuries saw him return. 

Had flashes of good moments, but they were outweighed by the disappointments. 

Karl Lawton 6

When on the field, Lawton was great for the Warriors, as he provided speed and finesse around the ruck, but sadly the hooker was also injury prone. 

In June, Karl Lawton has re-signed with the Warriors until the end of the 2021 NRL season.
In June, Karl Lawton has re-signed with the Warriors until the end of the 2021 NRL season. Photo credit: Photosport

When fit, he is a key figure in the Warriors starting side. 

Nathaniel Roache 5

Similar to Lawton, impressive when on the field, but he had even more difficulty staying healthy, and ACL injury in July will see him miss the start of 2020. 

Leeson Ah Mau 8

His addition proved to be worthwhile, as he added size and power to the Warriors pack. He did his job and was one of the best this year. 

Ah Mau managed to replicate some of the numbers he put up at the Dragons, averaging 109m per game and making 96 percent of his tackles. 

Agnatius Paasi 7

For the most part, the Tongan-born product was impressive this season, averaging just under 100m running metres per game, while completing 90 percent of his tackles. 

He was good, without being spectacular.

Sam Lisone 4

The prop had a disrupted season that included time in reserve grade, suspension and a hamstring injury. 

While he was by no means the complete product, he carried with intent in most games, but discipline remained an issue. 

Bunty Afoa 5

Most of his performances came off the bench, but the Samoan international seems to thrive there. Always plays with lots of energy, which helped lift the Warriors at times.

Adam Blair 4

Effective on defence, although he still missed the odd tackle and gave away the odd penalty.

The same can't be said on attack, where he only ran for 100m twice this season - disappointing, considering Tohu Harris was out. 

Tohu Harris has been sabotaged by a foot injury suffered in mid- June.
Tohu Harris has been sabotaged by a foot injury suffered in mid- June. Photo credit: Photosport

Tohu Harris 6

Safe to say, the Warriors really missed their marquee forward in the second half of the season. The Kiwis international has been out since mid-June with a foot injury. 

He would have made the Warriors a better team, but probably wouldn't have changed the outcome of the season. When fit, he was one of the Warriors' best.   

Isaiah Papali'i 5

Once again, the young forward probably played way more minutes than he expected this year. His work-rate was outstanding for a 20-year-old and he will only get better over the coming years. 

Ligi Sao 4
Had his best game in a Warriors jersey in the win against the Sea Eagles, but got very few chances this year and will head off to Super League next year with Hull FC. 

Jazz Tevaga 8

The utility built on his Interchange Player of the Season award last year, with many dominant displays off the bench. In five games, he made more than 50 tackles, highlighted by a 72-tackle effort in the Broncos golden-point draw and 68 three weeks later, against the Raiders. 

Jazz Tevaga got through plenty of action in 2019.
Jazz Tevaga got through plenty of action in 2019. Photo credit: AAP

He needs to stay in the lock-forward role and not play hooker, unless there is no other option. This is by no means a criticism of Tevaga, but when he shifted, it took away the Warriors offload game and speed around the ruck.  

Lachlan Burr 7

Considering Burr hadn't played NRL football for three years, he did a great job and showed his worth. While he never set the world alight, Burr was impressive due to his work-rate and effort on the field. 

He's like a beefier version of Simon Mannering. 

Coach Stephen Kearney 6 

The Warriors boss deserves a pass mark for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, he hasn't been able to field his best team all season, which would be frustrating for any coach.

On top of that, it's amazing Kearney hasn't lost the plot with the number of questionable decisions that have gone against his team. 

But there have also been questionable tactics and puzzling selections during the season. 

Not considered due to lack of first-grade play: Hayze Perham, Taane Milne, Josh Curran, Leivaha Pulu 

Ben Francis is a Newshub online sports producer.

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