Tackle Count: Warriors look to continue riding that NRL wave of success

HOLDING ON: A couple of Knights defenders attempt to drag down Raiders fullback Nick Cotric in 2019. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
HOLDING ON: A couple of Knights defenders attempt to drag down Raiders fullback Nick Cotric in 2019. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

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Wow, how about those NZ Warriors?

They can already be crowned the feelgood story of the year, but our friends from across the ditch have proven they won't just make up the numbers in 2020.

The Warriors showed incredible discipline - completing an incredible 46 from 48 sets - and spirit in their 18-0 rout of the Red V last week.

Veteran Adam Blair and Tohu Harris were inspirational up front, halves Kodi Nikorima and Blake Green steered the ship while the likes of Ken Maumalo added plenty of spark for the Warriors. But now coach Stephen Kearney says his side need to keep playing well without emotion as a driver.

Now, the spotlight will be on Tamworth's second favourite team as they prepare for their next challenge. Can they match a tough Penrith outfit on Friday night?

The Panthers will be smarting after their 14-all draw with Newcastle last week. Speaking of the Knights, they're gearing up for a huge game against a Raiders side that dismantled the Storm.

The Novocastrians are set to be sparked by the return of Kalyn Ponga from injury and we examine the fullback's importance to the side. Over in the Raiders camp, we ponder if the much-discussed John Bateman has played his last NRL game for the Green Machine.

Meanwhile, the man we love to not quite love, Cameron Smith, has received a huge backing from Storm coach today. Craig Bellamy admits Melbourne are in transition but has warned people off trying to dethrone Smith as the game's best hooker.

Also, Peter V'Landys says an NRL grand final in Sydney in 2020 is not 'up in the air'. He's mid-discussion with the NSW government over the abandoned stadiums agreement. But the ARLC chairman is confident an agreement will be reached to keep the grand final in Sydney.

And there's much more happening in the NRL world so join us as the Tackle Count continues its journey. Buckle up: it's going to be a bumpy but fun ride.

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