11 hours ago
Henry Fa'afili-The Entertainer
For New Zealand Warrior Henry Fa'afili, creator of some of the most entertaining post-try celebrations in the National Rugby League (NRL), the time has to be right before he struts his stuff.
Last season, fans were treated to sights that ranged from Fa'afili listening to an imaginary personal stereo to him pretending to cut up a coconut.
But last Friday night, when he crossed twice in the Warriors' 10-18 loss to Canberra in Wellington, all he offered was a stare into a television camera.
What he would do if he scored against Penrith in Sydney tomorrow night would depend on the state of the game, Fa'afili said.
"The way I see it, there's a time and place for it," he said.
"You're not going to celebrate when you're losing or if there's just a couple of points' difference. I want to secure the win first and see what happens after that."
The winger with the corn row hairstyle has had numerous opportunities so far this season to show off new moves.
Fa'afili has scored nine tries after 10 matches and is homing in on his personal best haul for a season of 14 in 2001.
He thought he had reached double figures again last week when he crossed a third time late against the Raiders, only to have the video referee rule that halfback Stacey Jones had infringed.
Fa'afili was "a bit gutted", but not because he had missed out on a hat-trick to go with the one he scored in the Kiwis' 30-16 first-test win over Great Britain last November.
"I thought that try would have got us right back into the game," he said.
As it is, Fa'afili is one behind his club's top try-scorer, fellow winger Francis Meli, and the pair have built up a friendly rivalry.
"We started off at the beginning of the year saying we'd see who got the most tries," Fa'afili said.
"I think competition brings out the best in players, but we're happy whoever scores as long as we're putting in a solid performances for the team."
At Penrith Stadium, Fa'afili and Meli will come up against the player who is the outright leader in the NRL try-scoring stakes, fullback Rhys Wesser, who has grabbed 14.
Three of Wesser's touchdowns came in the Panthers' 28-14 defeat of the Warriors a month ago, when Fa'afili got a late consolation try for the home side.
Since that meeting at Auckland's Ericsson Stadium, the two teams have undergone a change in fortunes.
Penrith, whose campaign began slowly, have risen to fourth on the points table on the back of a winning streak that stretched to a club-equalling six matches last weekend.
For the Warriors, the loss to the Panthers started a sequence that has included three defeats in four matches, dropping them to sixth.
Fa'afili, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, said there was no panic among the Warriors over the downturn in results.
"I think we're playing well, but at vital times we're not putting in," he said.
"The Panthers are a quality side, and it won't be an easy game, but we definitely have the team to stop them."