Warriors forward Jazz Tevaga has a wishlist for the second half of the NRL season, starting with Friday’s match against Wests Tigers at the SCG.
Get angry like Jack Hetherington. Get more running out of Kodi Nikorima. And make Todd Payten the head coach.
Tevaga said last week’s 18-10 loss to the Sydney Roosters was encouraging for the strugglers – who have been boosted by the arrivals of loan players Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings from Parramatta to their flagging roster.
Equally important was the retention of loanee prop Hetherington from Penrith, a man the rugged Tevaga says is cut from the same aggressive cloth.
That was showcased when Hetherington and Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves engaged in a running battle over the closing stages of their round 11 meeting.
“Every team needs some mongrel and, what me and Jacko are offering, we’re not taking a step back to anyone,” Tevaga said.
“Jared’s a bully and he’s been a bully for quite a long time in this game. It was good to see Jack stand up to him.”
Tevaga said Hetherington had always been a “loose unit” and could get under the skin of opponents.
Waerea-Hargreaves’ refusal to shake hands with Hetherington after fulltime didn’t sit well with the Tevaga.
“I don’t agree with the way he went about things after the game but, yeah, Jack must have really roughed him up,” he said.
Tevaga’s message for Nikorima – a standout performer in the Warriors’ three wins this season but overshadowed in numerous other games – was clear.
With the club having farewelled five players this month, many of them key cogs, Tevaga said Nikorima was one of the players that needed to respond and take on a more dominant role.
“The coaches have challenged him this week that his runs have to double, otherwise he owes (assistant coach) Tony Iro 100 bucks I think,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tevaga was unperturbed by reports that Geoff Toovey and Ipswich-based brothers Shane and Ben Walker had been told by Warriors management they were no longer contenders to take charge as head coach next year.
Tevaga believed the club should give caretaker coach Payten the position on a permanent basis, having admired his method since Stephen Kearney was sacked six weeks ago.
Tevaga said he appreciated the Payten’s honesty, a trait that had shone through in raw media conferences.
“That’s Toddy, he’s straight up. You stuff up, or whatever, he’s going to tell you about it,” Tevaga said.