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