Five feathers to his cap

Last updated 12:00 27/05/2014
Kevin Locke
FIRST LOOK: Warriors fans have finally got their first look at Kevin Locke for 2014 but not in his usual fullback role.

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New Warriors coach Andrew McFadden made the right noises from day one but as we all know, actions speak louder than words. Rugby League writer Michael Minty breaks down the changes that have taken place at Penrose.

Cappy's Law

His first week in charge signalled the start of Cappy's Law - the way we train is the way we going to play.

McFadden made it clear from the start things needed change particularly in attitude as well as an lift in fitness, especially for a couple of players who had obviously enjoyed their off-season.

Individual accountability at training sessions become a focus which lead to a dust up between Chad Townsend and Jayson Bukuya during week one of Cappy's Law.

But the result of the training intensity was evident in the Waikato Stadium clash against the Bulldogs. Despite going down by four points to the top of the table, the Warriors gave themselves a chance at the death to win the game.

Six weeks ago this side would've rolled over in the second half and been beaten by 30.

Cappy's cull

The naming of his first team signalled that the players were immediately on notice, none more so than Feleti Mateo who spent two weeks in reserve grade.

Others to suffer Cappy's wrath were Konrad Hurrell, which initially arose eyebrows until a simple explanation was given with some straight shooting and honesty.

Dane Neilson is the latest player to appear out of favour but it was obvious his days were numbered when he failed to deliver any knockout blows on attack during the first five rounds.

Back row Ben

The critics had been calling for a shift to the back row for gun prop Ben Matulino, especially after a couple of stints there in the preseason trials.

He joined Simon Mannering and Jayson Bukuya against the Bulldogs last month and looked dangerous before going off injured and subsequently suspended for two weeks. Since then he's become a try scoring machine scoring the teams first try three weeks in a row.

With a dangerous offload and now a licence to roam wider at smaller defenders, McFadden will look to utilise his new weapon on the edge whether he's wearing 10 or 12 on his back.

The must-haves

Ngani Laumape and Konrad Hurrell have been given the nod as the right centre-wing pairing in the short term providing they gel defensively. Warriors fans will be hoping to see them forge a formidable right edge for years to come.

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The introduction of Ben Henry to the centres has also been a success as he's proving to be a good acquisition inside Manu Vatuvei. He's a guy who is fast becoming the next Elijah Taylor - a guy that can play anywhere, a smart footballer, defensively sound and knows when to set up his winger which is important since he's got the Beast on his outside.

Kevin Locke - Hohaia II?

Warriors fans have finally got their first look at Kevin Locke for 2014 but not in his usual fullback role. With Sam Tomkins now cemented in the #1 jersey, it appears Locke may well be used similarly to former Warrior Lance Hohaia who came off the bench with great success as a utility during the team's 2011 grand final appearance season.

His nippiness out of dummy half resembles that of Isaac Luke and if he can lift his physicality a notch he will be a more than useful addition to the Warriors hooking duties should Siliva Havili be overlooked, while the ability to cover anywhere in the backline if injury hits during a game is more than useful.

If the platform is set by the forwards, having Locke Tomkins and Johnson on the field at the same time could prove trumps for Cappy in 2014.


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