Tigers’ worrying start to 2023, Warriors halves battle heats up

The Wests Tigers bold new era under Tim Sheens suffered a humiliating start, while the battle for the Warriors No.6 jersey is heating up.

Wests Tigers’ bold new era under the old guard of Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall has suffered a demoralising start, smashed 48-12 by a revitalised Warriors.

While the Tigers held back all their big name stars and biggest signings, it was still an extremely deflating first up performance at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Warriors were also short of their big guns but still looked transformed under new coach Andrew Webster.

All up, they raced up nine tries to two in a dominant display with new playmakers Te Maire Martin and former Shark Luke Metcalf starring. Marcelo Montoya also finished with a hat-trick.



Martin’s comeback has been one of the game’s most inspirational stories of recent times.

And it certainly looks like the 27-year-old has headed across to New Zealand to make another statement.

With Shaun Johnson not playing, Martin seized control, with young Cronulla recruit Metcalf also showing some really promising signs.

Martin’s cool composure looks like it could be a huge asset for the Warriors this season, while Metcalf certainly put his best foot forward.


You talk about blinding speed. This was Ryan Papenhuyzen quick.

Just wait until you see Metcalf’s opening try in his new colours.

The former Shark blasted through like a bullet from 40 metres out early in the second half with a brilliant solo try.

It was the sort of pace that makes everyone stand up and take notice.

Metcalf probably won’t get a go ahead of Johnson and Martin to start the season, but he’d be a handy back up and a real danger coming off the bench. Who knows where this season will take him.



Let’s put this in context. Sheens held back the majority of his big names. No Api Koroisau, David Klemmer, Isaiah Papali’I or John Bateman who all join the club this year, and there was no Adam Doueihi or Luke Brooks and a stack more.

But still, after all the hype we’ve had since Sheens was appointed, you expected more from the young Tigers even if it was a trial.

But from the get go they just looked lacklustre and out of their depth and simply couldn’t keep pace with the rampaging Warriors who looked super sharp and more hungry.


Former premiership winning Panther Charlie Staines’ hopes of beating Daine Laurie in the race for the Tigers’ No 1 jumper this year didn’t get off to a great start.

The flying fullback stopped a try early with a terrific trysaving tackle on Michael Sio.

But Staines was absolutely steamrolled minutes later by a barnstorming Montoya, who finished with three tries and could have easily bagged four.

In fairness to Staines, you can’t accuse him of not putting his body on the line, it was just one of those cases of big man bulldozing a littler man.

Staines had some okay moments overall but he has a lot of work to do to bump Laurie out of the spot.


Both teams had plenty of young forwards trying to show they have what it takes.

For the Warriors, there was a conga line of them.

Tom Ale, Zyon Maiu’u, Solomon Vasuvulagi and Ali Leiataua all lo0oked very strong, while for the Tigers Stefano Utoikamanu was a standout and really made his second stint count.

The big man scored a barnstorming try from close to the line, and fished with 11 runs for 124m.

There was certainly a lot more punch to the start of the second half from the Tigers than the first and Stefano led the way.

For the Warriors Ale charged for 144m, the most of any player on the park.

Originally published as NRL trials 2023: Warriors win 48-12 over Tigers, as Luke Metcalf stars, Marcelo Montoya scores hat-trick

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