Final countdown for weary Warrior

JACOB PAGE
Last updated 05:00 31/08/2012
Timaru
NATASHA MARTIN

Timaru Warriors captain Blair Hanifin (left) will play his 50th game for the club, while front rower Tori Wihone will play his 100th in the Canterbury Rugby League division two final against Woolston at Addington Park tomorrow.

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One hundred games of toil is likely come down to one final stand for former Timaru Warriors captain Tori Wihone.

The 32-year-old will bring up 100 games for the team tomorrow when they take on the Woolston Rams in the Canterbury Rugby League division two grand final at Christchurch's Addington Park.

The "enforcer" of the forward pack hinted at last night's training that retirement was a likely option after the match, regardless of whether the Warriors earn back-to-back titles.

"I'm thinking this could be it," he said. "The body isn't holding up.

"I've had a broken arm to deal with the last two seasons which is why it has taken me so long to rack up 100 games."

Wihone, who started his playing days as a 19-year-old second-rower in 1999, said his proudest moment was the team's triumph in 2011.

He said if they were to do it again, they would have to be measured in their approach.

"It will come down to discipline and who shows enough composure," he said.

"We know what we have to do, we have to stick to our game plan."

The front-rower said the each of the players were friends off the field, and that was what helped create the winning culture of the past two seasons.

Current captain Blair Hanifin, who will play his 50th in the encounter, said his team would have to neutralise Woolston's big forward pack to win.

"They're nothing if not committed.

"We'll have to complete sets, control the ball and have accuracy with our play."

Fullback Ian Coombridge will be a key strike weapon for the Warriors.

His pace has made him a regular try scorer in 2012.

The Warriors finished top of the ladder after the regular season, having scored the most points in the competition, with 588 in 16 games.

The teams have shared one win each against each other this season, with Woolston winning 28-16 at home in round six, while the Warriors reversed it at Ashbury Park with a 30-24 victory in round 13.

Hanifin, whose first game for the club was when it reformed in 2009, said Woolston would look to outmuscle his side.

"They really look to come at you through the middle.

"They defend hard around the middle of the ruck too, so we'll look to push a bit wider (on attack)."

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- The Timaru Herald

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