The Dominion Post

Harris-Tavita holds key to Walsh starting

- David Long

Rising star Reece Walsh could find himself out of the starting team for the Warriors’ game against the Sea Eagles on Sunday.

Warriors coach Nathan Brown is hoping to have Chanel Harris-Tavita available for this weekend’s game at Lottoland and the young halfback showed at training yesterday that he has recovered well from his foot injury.

Brown suggested that Harris-Tavita would slot straight back into the halfback role as he was locked into that position before his injury.

‘‘Chanel was our starting halfback at the start of the year, so I would expect him to be our starting halfback now, if he’s fit and able,’’ Brown said.

That move could result in Kodi Nikorima shifting to five-eighth and Walsh dropping out of the starting team.

Other less likely options are Walsh going back to fullback and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck switching to the wing, or Nikorima moving to hooker and Walsh partnering Harris-Tavita in the halves.

‘‘We’ve got a few options there we can look at, with where people can play, who plays and what suits the team,’’ Brown said. ‘‘Obviously Reece is a young player, he’s only 18, so managing Reece is going to be important throughout the year.

‘‘So we’ve got about half a dozen plans, but we haven’t really worried too much about it, we’ve let them all train today and Reece can obviously play at 6 and 1, so he trained in different spots and Chanel trained at 7 and 6. There are a number of things we can look at there.

‘‘The first thing was that they all got through training good and we’ll have a staff meeting tomorrow before our main training run on Friday.’’

As well as fitting Harris-Tavita back in the team, Brown could also be doing likewise with Euan Aitken, the centre who picked up an ankle injury in the season opening win over the Titans.

Brown said it’s possible that this weekend might be too soon for Aitken’s return, but if he did play, he can go where either Adam Pompey or Rocco Berry are currently selected.

‘‘He started at left centre for us, but Adam Pompey has been doing such a good job and our right centre has been a mixed bag because of injuries,’’ Brown said.

‘‘So Rocco is on his second game there and from his first game to his second he showed some huge improvemen­t. Edward [Kosi] played his first game last week [at wing] but I’m sure Rocco can play wing also. So there’s a lot to think about.’’

Meanwhile, Brown clarified the situation with winger David Fusitu’a, who is still out with an injury that’s taking time to come right.

‘‘His hamstring is a bit more complex than what we first thought,’’ Brown said.

‘‘We thought he was going to be right to play last week and he got through the full week’s training then pulled up tight. He had a run Sunday, about an hour before the game and again it wasn’t good.

‘‘So he’s going to be a longer term propositio­n than what we first thought.’’

On Tuesday evening there were a couple of posts on Twitter, suggesting the reason why Fusitu’a wasn’t playing was because of personal issues and his mental health was questioned.

Brown criticised the authors of those tweets and felt a line had been crossed.

‘‘There are certain areas in life where people shouldn’t go,’’ Brown said. ‘‘There are areas of rumours that people shouldn’t talk about, I would have thought. That’s only if you’ve got your moral compass pointing in the right direction anyway.’’

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 ??  ?? Reece Walsh, above, will have to make way if Chanel Harris-Tavita, below, reclaims his position at halfback.
Reece Walsh, above, will have to make way if Chanel Harris-Tavita, below, reclaims his position at halfback.

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