Tonga puts Knights flyer Uate at top of his big game hit list

Townsville Bulletin - - Game On - by Antony Ste­wart antony. ste­wart@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

COW­BOYS in­ter­na­tional Wil­lie Tonga has never seen any­thing like Akuila Uate.

The size, the speed, the step – it’s a com­bi­na­tion he be­lieves makes the New­cas­tle Knight the best winger in the NRL.

Since first re­ally sight­ing him in camp with the Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter’s XIII, Tonga has been in awe.

Daunt­ingly, to­mor­row night at Dairy Farm­ers Sta­dium, Uate’s at­tack­ing raids will be aimed down Tonga’s de­fen­sive chan­nel, giv­ing the Cow­boy a chal­lenge like he reck­ons he’s never had be­fore.

‘‘ I’d have to say he’s the hard­est player to de­fend up against,’’ the Queens­land and Aus­tralia cen­tre said.

‘‘ I’ve never seen any­one that can run at full speed and step off both feet the way he can.

‘‘ So my­self and ( winger) Michael Bani have got a big chal­lenge ahead of us, not only with de­fend­ing him, but their whole right side. With Wes Naiqama, they have formed a pretty good com­bi­na­tion, so it’s go­ing to be tough.’’

Uate has a stun­ning strike-rate, hav­ing bagged 33 four point­ers in 46 NRL games, in­clud­ing be­ing the NRL’s top try scorer last sea­son with 21, while the Fi­jian opened his ac­count for 2011 against Pen­rith last week.

The 23-year-old, who is touted as a NSW Ori­gin pos­si­ble this sea­son, also has three in four games against the Cow­boys.

So the ques­tion is, af­ter North Queens­land’s left-side de­fence was caught out early by Bris­bane last week, how do they stop Uate from ex­pand­ing his

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.