Elijah Taylor set to fill in for Friend at hooker

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2013
Elijah Taylor
Photosport
UNFAMILIAR ROLE: Elijah Taylor is set to fill in for the injured Nathan Friend at hooker for the Warriors.

Relevant offers

League

Benji Marshall reflects on emotional win Manly Sea Eagles too good for NZ Warriors Wests Tigers coach's future undecided Hull contract falls through for Warriors centre Titans investigated for possible cap breaches David Kidwell in line for Wests Tigers coach job Tigers defeat doesn't help Mick Potter's cause Johnson out for Warriors clash with Sea Eagles Warriors can rise to the Sea Eagles' challenge Cowboy James Tamou cleared of serious injury

Elijah Taylor feels he's getting accustomed to life as the Warriors' hooker.

With the team's regular hooker, Nathan Friend, out until April because of an operation to repair damaged nerves in his shoulder, Warriors coach Matt Elliott has chosen the talented Taylor as the player to fill in.

Against Penrith Panthers in Hamilton last Saturday, Taylor put in an impressive performance. He said he enjoyed the experience and while Elliott thought he played well, he did say Taylor struggled with fitness towards the end of the game.

But Taylor said he felt there was a big difference between playing hooker at training to in a match situation.

"Fatigue is a big factor, especially after trading sets with the opposition," Taylor said.

"Hooker is a massive role, there's a huge responsibility and your attack depends on how well your hooker's service is out of dummy half.

"The main point I need to work on is making sure that my passing is accurate under fatigue. So after trainings I will do dummy half passes to the forwards and outside backs, just to make sure it's nice a crisp."

As for feeling fatigued, Taylor is confident he won't be like that once he has a few games under his belt.

"There is a massive difference between being training fit and match fit," he said.

"The more games I'll play at hooker the better I'll feel and more comfortable I'll be.

"I have got a lot to work on and a lot to learn, I am trying to fast track a lot of things because it's not my original position.

"I'm trying to learn as much as I can from Nathan Friend, Thomas Leuluai and Alehana Mara, just absorbing what they know and what tips they can give me."

Elliott felt that part of the reason why they lost 32-18 to Penrith last Saturday was because the structure of the team was set up wrongly by him.

However, Taylor believes the players let themselves down defensively and that's why they weren't so efficient in attack.

"Our defence was the main reason why the score line was what it was, because everything relates to each other in rugby league," he said.

"If your defence isn't right then your attack is going to struggle, but when your defence is right, you'll save energy for your attack to be nice and sharp.

"Our defence wasn't the best at the weekend and that showed in our attack, we were a bit gassed and everyone wasn't running the lines at the intensity they should have, so a bit of responsibility on the players as well.

Ad Feedback

"While Taylor has his eyes set on being the starting hooker for the first part of the season, Pita Godinet fancies being his regular back up.

With hooker being such a demanding position, Elliott is on the lookout for a quality understudy to Taylor who can play well while he gets a break and Godinet wants to be that man.

"The role I see myself in is as the backup for Elijah," Godinet said.

"No doubt he was the hardest working player out there last week and they were trying to give him lots of game time to get used to that role, because he hasn't played much hooker and the role I am definitely going for is to be the backup hooker."

Meanwhile, there is more bad news for the Warriors on the injury front with Sam Lousi ruled out for six to eight weeks with a stress fracture in his foot and Ben Henry sidelined for two weeks with an ankle sprain.

Both of these injuries were picked up in the loss to the Panthers.

- Fairfax Media

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

What should the Warriors do with Dane Nielsen?

Try and offload him. He's been a disappointment.

Nothing. He's got another year on his contract.

Give him more of a chance to showcase his skills.

Re-sign him. He's an Origin rep and solid defensive centre.

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content