Warriors Konrad Hurrell faces new challenge

DAVID LONG
Last updated 12:35 03/03/2013
Konrad Hurrell
FAIRFAX NZ
KONRAD HURRELL: "But I am pretty comfortable with where I'm at. I have learnt a lot from last year and I'll have more confidence for this season."

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Warriors' rising star Konrad Hurrell says he is aware of the pitfalls of the second-year syndrome.

The 21-year-old centre was one of the few positives from last year's disastrous campaign, playing 17 games and scoring 12 tries.

However, Hurrell knows he won't be an unknown force this season, with opposition sides conscious of his strengths and weaknesses.

"I have been thinking about that a lot," Hurrell said.

"You could have a good year and then in the next you go down a bit.

"Last year I played my best but it was still a learning year for me and I know more about the game now. Because of that I hope I've improved from last year."

While 2012 was a good year overall for Hurrell, he did suffer a dip in form towards the end of the season and last August suffered the ignominy of being dropped to the Auckland Vulcans side as punishment for missing seven tackles against North Queensland the previous week.

Hurrell admits defence was an issue for him and it is something he has put of a lot of work into. However, it is worth remembering that just two years ago he was still a rugby player.

"It is a different game to union and it's tougher," Hurrell said.

"On defence, it's about working together as a team. My defence let me down last year and so I've been working on that a lot and, hopefully, it has improved.

"There is a big difference [between the codes], especially when you play in the centres and it was hard for me to read the numbers, because you often get a one-man overlap and it is hard to make the right decision.

"But I am pretty comfortable with where I'm at. I have learnt a lot from last year and I'll have more confidence for this season.

"Hopefully, I will get a start or be in the team so that I can prove myself."

However, there will be a battle for places in the centres at the Warriors this season with Jerome Ropati, Dane Nielsen, and Dominique Peyroux all contenders.

Nielsen may be at the head of the pack as he was one of the club's big off-season signings, while the inspirational Ropati will be looking at getting plenty of game time too.

But Ropati is unlikely to play too much for the first part of the season as he continues to recover from last year's serious knee injury.

That should give Hurrell a window of opportunity to prove himself early in the campaign.

"I came into pre-season pretty unfit but, since then, I've been working hard," he said.

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"There are heaps of good centres here but it's up to me if I want to be in the team.

"I can work my ass off to get in there but if I don't want to then I'll just slack off."

- Sunday News

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