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Opinion

New Zealand's greatest NRL team

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Roar Guru
2nd November, 2020
9

Just a brief reminder of the rules as I’m going to be doing a fantasy tournament with these all time teams therefore we can’t have the same player on the two different teams.

To decide which team the player is picked in, the most games that player has played for gets first choice. If they don’t make that team they can be picked in the team they play second most games – and so on and so forth.

I continue my series by naming the New Zealand Warriors’ best team ever.

New Zealand has produced some great talent despite their inability to win a premiership.

1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
20 caps for NZ, winger of the year, fullback of the year, captain of the year , RLIF winger of the year, RLW player of the year and Dally M Medal winner.
First and only Warriors player to win a Dally M Medal, RTS has broken the record for most metres in an NRL season.

RTS has the best footwork I’ve ever seen can change direction like no other. His acceleration and strength get him so many line breaks.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

2. Ken Maumalo
9 caps for NZ, 4 Samoa, winger of the year
Like another forward , Ken is best taking strong runs from dummy half and making acrobatic dives to score in the corner. Standing at 6’5 he is also a great target in the air .

3. Clinton Toopi
22 caps for New Zealand
A fantastic centre with ball skills and a nice step. Toopi was physical specimen who was a game breaker. Was one the premier centres in the early 2000s.

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4. Brent Tate
26 caps for Australia ,23 for Queensland
Known for his iconic neck brace, Tate brought great professionalism and leadership to the Warriors.

He had great football awareness and skill. Unfortunately he endured numerous injuries which stopped him from realising his true potential.

5. Manu Vatuvei
28 caps for New Zealand, twice winger of the year
‘The Beast’ had a rocky start to his career but made himself one of the most damaging and destructive wingers ever.

Manu can score tries with multiple defenders surrounding him but use his brute strength to break through.

He has broken the record for scoring ten tries or more for ten years straight. The Jonah Lomu of rugby league.

6. Shaun Johnson
32 caps for NZ, RLIF Rookie of the year, Golden Boot Winner
Magic Johnson at his best he is simply mesmerising, footwork and a dummy along with a swift swerve he can make line breaks and set up try’s at ease.

You can see he was a champion touch football player. When he is on he can’t be touched.

7. Stacey Jones
45 caps for New Zealand, Golden Boot winner
The little master was the heart and soul of the Warriors, he could guide a team around the park and make magical runs that would bamboozle a defence try in 2002 grand final.

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The Warriors have never had such a great field general and sorely miss his leadership and kicking game.

8. Jacob Lillyman
14 caps for Queensland
Honest hard working prop who brought toughness the Warriors, he didn’t make many highlight reels but was reliable and solid in defence.

9. PJ Marsh
4 caps for Queensland
Marsh made the best of his time in New Zealand with his darting runs and quick play the balls, Marsh was was also great momentum changer off the bench.

10. Ben Mautalino
23 caps for NZ
With a tall frame, he was always going over the advantage line. He had a habit of quick play the balls .

11. Ali Lauitiiti
19 caps for New Zealand, four for Samoa and second rower of the year
What a waste of talent, he left the NRL too soon.

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When you are called the Michael Jordan of the NRL, you know you are special.

He had sublime ball skills, could offload or flick pass the ball at will, and had amazing footwork that could bust the line.

He left too soon but his form in 2002 was unbelievable and probably had one of the best season for a second rower ever. What a shame.

12. Simon Mannering
45 caps for New Zealand
Mannering has been a constant of the Warriors and the Kiwis for so many years. Terrific clubman. He puts his body, heart and soul into every game, is formidable in defence and just as good at offloads.

The Richie McCaw of Kiwi rugby league.

13. Michael Luck
Tireless workhorse who no fuss attitude and toughness that Warriors sorely miss. Made 73 tackles in a game once – an NRL record.

Playing for New Zealand may have been a detriment to his representative chances .

Bench
Lance Hohaia, Kevin Campion, Russell Packer and Sam Rapira

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This team will be very entertaining to watch.

With the NRL’s Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, you will think you’re watching the Harlem Globetrotters.

They will have great start to sets with two powerful wingers who are strong runners and try scorers.

The RTS and Johnson combination will leave opponents in the dust, with Stacey Jones being the calming influence steering the ship.

Despite their flair they have some really gritty players who will stiffen the defence in Lillyman, Luck and Mannering.

The game-breaker is Laultitli who can create opportunities from nothing his offloads will have likes of RTS and Johnson lurking around. This is a really balanced team with a mix of flair and toughness. Playing these Warriors will make the opposition turn into worriers.