Warriors finally get chance at Grand Final redemption
By Tate Spiteri
After waiting 8 long rounds the ruthless Casey Warriors will finally get their chance at a slice of revenge on the reigning premiers Werribee this Saturday at Casey Fields.
Both teams have again been the two clear standouts this season cruising along to 6-0 starts by average winning margins of 40 and 27 respectively.
But on Saturday the sparring and point comparing will be over and we’ll finally be able to get a proper grasp on who this years premiership favourite is, and while the match is unlikely to effect both teams top two finish the mental edge of securing the win over the other will be huge.
Casey are a better team now than they were last year having added the experience of Michael Ki, Richard Ene and Brandon Taua’a to compliment existing quality players such as the competitions best in Pride Peterson-Robarti as well as Victorian squad members John Nicholas, Waka Sweet and Nigel Taleta.
The Warriors have also been bolstered by the continually rapid improvement of Victorian U20 Chase Aporo.
Aporo, has started the season in scintillating form, the young full back was named the Victorian FOG’s teams player of the year and has also scored 6 First Grade tries this year and despite his age has become one of the competitions elite players.
Fellow Victorian U20 representative Toko Metua has also made an impact at First Grade level for the Warriors, scoring 3 tries in his sole appearance.
But while Werribee have been a lot more modest with their signings and haven’t had the big resounding blowout wins that the Warriors have put together you would still be brave to write the premiers off this weekend.
The Bears, who are revered for their depth and even contributions, have gone about their business quietly this year. However, when presented with their biggest challenges against fellow top 4 teams Altona and the Northern Thunder they have been a class above winning by 20 and 18 points respectively.
Some of their star players also look to have peaked in form at an ideal time ahead of this weekends blockbuster clash. Troy Hanita-Paki has scored a massive 32 points the last 2 weeks, including 5 tries to bring his season tally to 10 tries and 13 goals.
Hanita-Paki, who crossed over after a junior career at the Altona Roosters has been a revelation for the Bears and will need to be watched closely by the Warriors this weekend.
Ben Tuitau is another who has been prominent for the Bears, scoring 5 tries so far this season and being named in the Victorian squad along with teammates Tasmania Johansson and Fisifou Holani.
Frank Vaaua, Kuros Metuariki and Solomon Ioasa have also been mainstays in the undefeated Bears undefeated line up, playing every game this year.
How the star players of Casey are able to unite and break down the tight structures of Werribee will decide this weekends match.
As for a tip, it’s the hardest game to call all season, but with revenge in their mind and in front of their home crowd expect Casey to win in a close one.