In a season of mixed results for the Warriors in 2019, there were plenty of shining lights for the men across the Tasman with a handful of talent securing starts in the first-grade side over the course of the season.
The Warriors narrowly missed out on a finals spot after ending 2019 just two competition points outside the top-eight, but they can take a major positive from finishing the season as the equal-second best defensive team, conceding just 451 points from 22 games.
Some of the key men who stood out for the Warriors appropriately earned their NRL debuts at various stages throughout the 2019 campaign, including the likes of Adam Keighran, Chanel Harris-Tevita, Patrick Herbert, Adam Pompey and Hayze Perham
Their highlight moment
Rd 18 v Newtown Jets - 34-8 W
Even though it was a memorable victory late in the season being against the would-be Canterbury Cup premiers and State Championship winners, this result proved to be the Warriors’ most comprehensive winning margin of 2019 as they defeated the Jets 34-8.
With the home side taking a 10-8 lead into the break, the match looked set to become an arm-wrestle before the Warriors took the game away from their opposition with 24 unanswered 2nd-half points.
Playing off the back of ever-reliable prop Chris Satae, who produced a mammoth 243 run metres, halfback Adam Keighran was calling calling the shots in attack with two tries, two line-breaks, one try-assist and six tackle-breaks.
The clinical performance came in what was a purple patch for New Zealand, winning five of six matches from Round 14, but this victory was undoubtedly their most dominant in proving they can mix it with the best.
Simply their best
Despite only making 14 appearances in the 2019 season, Chris Satae certainly made his presence known in the front-row for every minute he spent on the field, and was a key player in five of the Warriors’ nine victories.
The rampaging prop was consistently damaging with ball in hand, averaging 172.6 run metres, 12.8 hit-ups and 3.7 tackle-breaks. Satae was just as strong in defense as he produced a huge 30 tackles per game.
Having also made two appearances for the first-grade side in this season due to his stellar Canterbury Cup NSW performances, there no question that Satae can go from strength to strength in 2020.
Room for improvement
For the Warriors to get themselves into premiership contention next season, they will need to look for more avenues of attack after finishing second-last for points scored (416) in 2019. The Warriors have proven at different points throughout the season that they a more than capable of scoring plenty of point regardless of their opposition.
Another point of improvement is producing better consistency on the road. Despite a strong home record of 7-4, the Warriors will aim to succeed their away record (2-7) in 2020.
Soward's season grading
It was another underperforming Warriors outfit which mimmicked their NRL team. They couldn't record back-to-back wins as much as they needed too and although they made a late run at the back end of the year, and it seemed as though they were in contention, I don't think they were anywhere near a threat to the competition.
Consistency will be key for them moving forward in the 2020 Canterbury Cup NSW season.