4 days ago
Second rower Sione Faumuina is all for the New Zealand Warriors showing off their flair in the National Rugby League (NRL).
Faumuina was the player that threw the outrageous blind overhead pass for fellow forward Evarn Tuimavave to score a try in the 32-12 win away to Brisbane in mid-April.
He said the weather and the number of night matches in recent times had not made it easy to toss the ball around.
The Warriors, who face struggling Parramatta in Sydney on Saturday night, lie fifth on the table, but are only 12th among the NRL's 15 teams in terms of points scored.
Faumuina said the Warriors hadn't forsaken their characteristic expansive style.
"But the weather hasn't been to our liking in the past few weeks," he said.
"I think the last time we played in sunshine was in Brisbane, and look what happened there."
Damp conditions and night-time dew ? this weekend's game will be the Warriors' sixth successive match under lights ? encouraged the percentage options, Faumuina said.
"Hopefully the weather will suit us better as time goes on and we'll offload a bit more."
There were signs the Warriors were getting their attack back into gear last weekend, when they scored four tries ? and only one from a bomb ? in beating Cronulla 23-6.
That result ended a two-match losing streak and maintained coach Daniel Anderson's record of not having lost three consecutive games since taking over the Warriors in 2001.
The most impressive feature of the win over Cronulla, however, was the punishing defence, which allowed the Sharks just one early try from a bomb.
In particular, when the match was still firmly in the balance, the Warriors shut out the opposition while they were down a man after fullback Brent Webb was sinbinned for a professional foul.
"We just looked to our senior blokes and to each other and we knew we had to stay focused," Faumuina said.
"It's one thing we've been working hard on, stopping tries when we're on our own line. The guys in the middle have been trying to move up real quick and it has worked well."
The last time the Warriors played Parramatta they only just held on to win 18-16 in Auckland a month ago.
The Eels, meanwhile, remain in a slump, losing 14-50 away to Canberra in the last round.
Coach Brian Smith has now seen his team, grand finalists less than two years ago, win just three matches this season, and only five of their last 27.
They lie second bottom, ahead of just South Sydney, and still have skipper Nathan Cayless, fellow New Zealander Alex Chan and Kangaroos forward Michael Vella among their injured.
But Faumuina, who will start on the interchange bench against the Eels, said Parramatta commanded respect simply because of who they were.
"Parramatta could be last for all we care, but at the end of the day, they are the Parramatta Eels," he said.
"We're not going to take them lightly, no matter where they are on the table