Second rower Bodene Thompson has missed six matches in a disrupted second season with the Vodafone Warriors, absences which have merely served to underline his value to the club.
On Sunday, the Tauranga-born 28-year-old faces his ex-Wests Tigers side for the fourth time since moving to Mount Smart Stadium (4.00pm kick-off).
Thompson made an instant impact in his first campaign with the Vodafone Warriors in 2015, quickly developing a combination with his right edge partner Shaun Johnson.
In 21 games he averaged 10 runs, 89 metres and 39 tackles a game, more often than not filling a full 80-minute shift. He had nine line breaks and finished as the team’s top try-scoring forward with six.
It’s a mark of his consistency that he’s travelling much the same in 2016, his averages after 16 matches sitting at 10 runs, 93 metres and 40 tackles with seven line breaks and six tries (making him the club’s top try-scoring forward once again).
After missing the golden point losses to Manly and Canberra, Thompson was reunited with captain Ryan Hoffman and Simon Mannering for the extra-time win over Penrith, so restoring the side’s combination of three 80-minute back rowers to provide flexibility with the use of the interchange.
Being posted on the Vodafone Warriors’ right edge, Thompson sees far more defensive traffic as opposition sides routinely aim their attack through their left side. So while he has averaged 40 tackles a game, Hoffman has averaged just 22 tackles a game on the left edge but sees more ball averaging 114 metres a game.