Bukuya makes big impression at Warriors

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Bukuya makes big impression at Warriors

Postby Muppet » Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:14 pm

The Warriors identified last year they needed a more competitive edge and signed Sam Tomkins, who is not only one of the world's best fullbacks but also a player who is hugely driven.

Jayson Bukuya arrived at Mt Smart Stadium this season to less fanfare but no less of a desire to win and his approach has already made an impression.

"He's had a bigger impact than I would have imagined," Warriors coach Matt Elliott said. "He's pretty aggressive and competitive at training, which I think has had a positive impact."

Bukuya played in last weekend's Auckland Nines but tomorrow in Dunedin against the Broncos will get his first opportunity to make a positive impact for the Warriors in a full-sided game.

Elliott has promised to field his best side available for their last pre-season game and Bukuya is certain to get plenty of gametime as he battles for a spot in the playing 17 for the Warriors' opening NRL game against the Eels on March 9.

He's not a direct replacement for Elijah Taylor, who has joined the Panthers, although they have similarities. Taylor was predominantly used through the middle last season and, while Bukuya also relies on power and has a good workrate, Elliott is looking at using the 24-year-old as an edge backrower.

"That's his speciality and that's where he gives us some strike," Elliott said. "He's a player I believe is ready to be a 70-80-minute player on a week-to-week basis and someone who can be really damaging on the edge. I'm going to encourage that to be the case."

Bukuya played 59 games for the Sharks after making his NRL debut in 2008, averaging 24.1 tackles, 70.2m, 8.7 runs and 61.6 minutes a game.

But he played only two games in 2008 and none at all in both 2009 and 2010 because of injuries (ankle, fractured fibula, both shoulders) before a breakthrough year in 2012.

He arrives in Auckland looking to make more of an impact as a player and signed with the Warriors because they chased him and he enjoyed the unfamiliar feeling of being wanted.

"I've never really had that from a club before,' he said.

"They were really keen to get me over here.

"It's been better than I expected. It's a good club to be a part of. I've never seen a team with this much skill. They are capable of anything, for sure."

It's been a common refrain about the Warriors over their 20-year existence but the club are still searching for their first NRL title. That's where Bukuya's competitive nature is supposed to help.

"Our focus is on knuckling down and sticking to our key roles in our positions and not going away from that. We can tend to drift away from that but if we stick to our team structures, I think we will do alright."

Bukuya was a late arrival at pre-season training after playing for Fiji in last year's World Cup. The Bati performed well in the tournament, especially in their 22-4 quarter-final win over Samoa, before being steamrolled 64-0 by Australia in their semifinal.

It was his second World Cup - Bukuya made his debut as a teenager at the 2008 tournament - but he had to wait five years between tests because of a lack of international matches.

He won't have to wait as long again, with Fiji due to play Samoa in May for a spot in this year's Four Nations alongside Australia, New Zealand and England.

- APNZ
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Re: Bukuya makes big impression at Warriors

Postby TerryG » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:16 pm

The Storm (Sisa Waqa), Newcastle (Akuila Uate) and the Wests Tigers (Marika Koroibete) etc have got fast, competitive Fijians.

Now the Warriors can show the same except that Bukuya can play with a bit of Mongrel too. This will be a good fit at the club. :D
“People who compete against themselves are the real competitors” - Wayne Bennett
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Re: Bukuya makes big impression at Warriors

Postby Muppet » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:47 pm

I think he will add some defensive starch to our right hand D.
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Re: Bukuya makes big impression at Warriors

Postby sup42 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:36 am

I thought Buluya looked really good yesterday.
That break through the line is one he has pulled off for the Sharks a few times , Rabs really likes the guy and goes a bit OTT about him during calls ( which is a good thing in the greater scheme of things ).
I like the way he and Palavi were the first two Kick chasers off the opening kick off of the game.
Had to take a double take there....those boys are Solid and hit with some force , I thought it was Matulino and someone else.
McGuire barely got to the ten meter line. Kick chase has been such an issue for us I hope he continues to lead other players with him like that.

I also like the way he runs at holes , it's been mentioned a lot , but you also see how when he is tackled the defenders are clinging on and it's very hard to stop a fast play the ball.

As others have said he has a bit of attitude. That will help fire up some of the others who have been a bit flat.

Lookiing Good , very good start.
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