Tricky Likiliki picks up accolade
Wednesday 11 July 2012 9:50 PM
Two of the Vodafone Warriors’ Tongan connection – both hat-trick heroes – snared the players’ player of day awards this week.
First it was blockbusting Vodafone Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell collecting the majority of the votes from his NRL team-mates after his treble in last Saturday night’s 32-14 win against Gold Coast.
And prop-turned-temporary-winger Toka Likiliki captured the votes from his team-mates as well after his triple treat in the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 38-22 NYC victory against the Titans.
Through circumstances Likiliki, who had filled in on the wing earlier in the season, was pressed into fulltime service for the home match against the Cowboys; with Omar Slaimankhel on NRL duty, Peta Hiku had been switched from the left wing to fullback and David Fusitua, used on the wing against Cronulla, was out injured for the North Queensland match. At the same time, Ngataua Hukatia, played on the wing earlier, had established himself in the centres.
So it made perfect sense to coach John Ackland to opt for Likiliki, a young man whose sheer bulk belies the good speed, clever feet and deft ball skills he possesses. The Cowboys found out about it when he played the full 80 minutes on the wing, carving up 162 minutes from 10 runs, making six tackle breaks and a line break in an error-free display.
He was among the best on the field in that match but then went to another level against the Titans, scoring his first try in the 28th minute, hitting and spinning near Gold Coast’s line and then turning to plant the ball.
For his second, Carlos Tuimavave took on the line, got a great ball away for Likiliki to go in at the corner before Tuimavave then found Likiliki with a long pass, the big man bumping off his opposite and dismissing the cover to score his third. In one game he had quadrupled his career try-scoring output.
In a dominant display by the Vodafone Junior Warriors, Likiliki was superior. He ran more times (18) than anyone else in the game, easily made more metres (186) than any other player and also made more tackle breaks (13).
It looks like he might be in business on the wing for a little longer yet.