New Zealand War­riors

2016 fin­ish: Fi­nals week two

Rugby League Week - - Nsw Cup -

The coach says: For a club with three NYC ti­tles to its name, it’s amaz­ing that the Auck­lan­ders are still with­out a NSW Cup pre­mier­ship. That clearly has a lot to do with the in­sta­bil­ity and fre­quent chop­ping and chang­ing of per­son­nel at NRL level, so it’s no sur­prise new coach Ricky Henry is ex­cited about the new man in the top job. “Stephen Kear­ney’s been re­ally good in terms of mak­ing it a clean slate for ev­ery­one – so ev­ery­one’s got an op­por­tu­nity to stake their claim re­gard­less of rep­u­ta­tion,” Henry tells RLW. “Ev­ery­one has to keep per­form­ing at train­ing and in games, and I think that will re­ally help the club as a whole and cre­ate strong com­pe­ti­tion. The main fo­cus will be mak­ing sure our boys are fit. We’ll also be look­ing at some of the things we could’ve done bet­ter last year, and that was more around our prepa­ra­tion. Fingers crossed, in­juries don’t put hur­dles in front of us, but I think we’re ready for a big sea­son.”

Player to watch: Henry hopes Kieran Fo­ran is cleared for round one so his halves pair­ing of Ma­son Lino ( above) and Ata Hingano are on deck from the out­set. And while Hingano has been hailed the next big thing, Henry reck­ons 23-year-old Lino will be the key man. “Ma­son’s very level-headed and has good footy knowl­edge and game man­age­ment. He’s a mas­sive part of our team and when he goes well, the team goes well. He’s com­pet­i­tive and doesn’t shirk his re­spon­si­bil­ity . . . he’ll most likely be our cap­tain.”

KEY GAINS: N/A

KEY LOSSES: Shaun Lane, Ali Lauiti­iti, Sione Lousi, John Palavi, Henare Wells, Jonathan Wright, Jeff Rob­son

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