Praise Aplenty For Warriors Debutante
He hasn't played a single minute of NRL Telstra Premiership football yet, but already Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has won over the admiration of his teammates at the Warriors.
The Auckland-born utility back will become Warrior #216 when they host the Sydney Roosters at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday, filling the void created by Solomone Kata's hamstring injury sustained in the 20-14 loss to the Melbourne Storm on Anzac Day
Named to play on the right wing, Nicoll-Klokstad was selected ahead of experienced campaigners Tuimoala Lolohea and Matthew Allwood, with Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson praising the 21-year-old's impressive dedication to his craft.
"I have worked with Charnze for I think the last year or two now, I haven't played with him but I have seen his work ethic and I think if that is anything to go off he is a pretty special kid," Johnson said.
"To be so driven, and to see the work he puts in away from the team just on his own as well, I am just so stoked that he gets a chance to play in front of his friends and family this weekend at the highest level.
"You just always see him doing his little extras and he is just always learning. I love to see that rewarded and I know the boys do too."
The Warriors' Intrust Super Premiership Player of the Year in 2016, 'CNK' is in his second season with the club after signing from the Storm where he was a standout at Holden Cup level.
Right-edge partner David Fusitu'a said he hoped his previous experience with Nicoll-Klokstad at reserve-grade level would help them to contain Round 9 opposite numbers Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Daniel Tupou, who between them have four tries and six line breaks this season.
"I think it's massive [to have that experience together], just so we have a feel for how each other plays and how we [defend] together," Fusitu'a said.
"It will come in handy once we get out there… there is already that bit of a connection there so it shouldn’t take too long for us to click.
"I think Charnze is a great communicator, he's really exciting and a bit like Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck], just bouncing off the walls kind of thing and has a lot of energy.
"It was only a matter of time until he got his debut. I know me and Charnze will be going out there and putting our best foot forward."
Nicoll-Klokstad will become the third Warrior to make his first-grade debut in 2017, following on from Isaiah Papali'i (Round 1) and Erin Clark (Round 2).
This article first appeared on NRL.com