NRL trials 2023 Warriors v Wests Tigers


Wests Tigers haven’t played finals footy since 2011.

They won the wooden spoon last year, and their first trial match of 2023 ended in a 48-12 thumping at the hands of the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Thursday.

Although devoid of their stars – David Nofoaluma, Brent Naden, Adam Doueihi, Luke Brooks, Api Koroisau, David Klemmer and Isaiah Papali’i were all missing – acting skipper Stefano Utoikamanu was blunt in his assessment of his side’s performance.

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“It was pretty shocking, I think. Our defence was pretty poor,” he told Fox Sports.

“We played a pretty young team … we can’t expect much from that, but the only thing we can do is move on to next week and focus on what we can do to improve.”

The Tigers conceded the first points of the match in the ninth minute, and went into the sheds only 14-0 down.

They conceded two more early tries in the second half, before back-to-back four-pointers cut the deficit back to 14 points.

Warriors flyer slips through Tigers

But that was as good as it got for the Tigers, who then conceded four late tries as the scoreboard blew out.

The lopsided result was a poor way for Tim Sheens to mark his return to the coaching box.

“We lost momentum in the first half, and that’s what we needed in the second,” Utoikamanu added.

“There was a period we came back into it, and then we just fell away at the end.”

A Marcelo Montoya hat-trick made the Tigers’ right edge look awful.

The Tigers will regroup and take on the Raiders in another trial match next Sunday afternoon.

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