NothingButLeague is looking at the best buys for each club in the National Rugby League. In this article we look at New Zealand Warriors. They ended the 2015 season in a disappointing thirteenth position after losing their last eight matches. It’s a make or break year for Andrew McFadden with speculation mounting former coach Ivan Cleary will return to the club.
- Jeff Robson
Position: Five-eighth, Halfback
Previous Club: Cronulla Sharks
With Cronulla signing James Maloney and the return of Chad Townsend from a stint at the Warriors, thirty-three year old Jeff Robson was on the outer at the Shire club. He’s received a lifeline from the New Zealand Warriors as his career comes to a close.
How Robson will fit in to the Warriors squad is certain to play out over the summer months with a fit Shaun Johnson and Tuimoala Lolohea appearing to be the best two options in the halves going into the new season.
One thing is for sure that Robson is good insurance if superstar Johnson breaks down. Experienced head with over 150 games spanning time at Manly, Parramatta and Cronulla.
- Isaac Luke
Previous Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs
Isaac Luke is a great signing for the Warriors. He brings experience to the club with 189 appearances for the Bunnies and 31 at International level for the Kiwis. That’s even without mentioning how talented Luke is and how he can influence the result of a game.
The biggest asset Luke will bring to the club is passion. Over the years there has been criticism regarding the attitude and culture at the Warriors as they have constantly disappointed season after season.
In the next three years I expect a most positive on-field culture at the Warriors club as they have their first serious crack at the National Rugby League title since their 2002-03 campaigns.
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Previous Club: Sydney Roosters
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had an outstanding 2015 for the Sydney Roosters after taking over the fullback spot from retiring Anthony Minichiello.
His influence on the Roosters season was clear as he formed part of the spine along with Jake Friend, Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney. RTS was a breakaway leader in most metres made and most runs.
Tuivasa-Sheck’s arrival at the club ends a disappointing time for Sam Tomkins who didn’t quite live up to all the hype surrounding his arrival at the start of 2014.
How good will the Warriors spine be next year with him, Shaun Johnson and Isaac Luke all fully fit and in form? There should be no excuses for the New Zealand Warriors not to make the finals for the first time since 2011.