One New Zealand Warriors stars Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Addin Fonua-Blake were both in outstanding form while experiencing contrasting outcomes for the New Zealand Kiwis and Mate Ma’a Tonga over the weekend.
Starting at fullback for only the second time in eight Tests for the Kiwis, Nicoll-Klokstad continued where he left off throughout his brilliant NRL campaign.
He was among a vast cast of quality contributors as the new Zealanders powered to a commanding 50-0 win over beaten 2022 Rugby League World Cup finalist Toa Samoa at Eden Park on Saturday.
The 28-year-old kept turning up all over the field, providing his typical high octane energy and taking hard runs in the middle of the park time after time while also being flawless with his positional and defensive play. There was finesse, too, with a line break, a line break assist and a try assist via the peach of a pass he threw for right winger Jamayne Isaako to score the opening try.
Nicoll-Klokstad finished with 167 metres from 18 runs including 47 post-contact metres plus seven line breaks, two off loads, no missed tackles and no errors.
Tonga went down 18-22 as it opened its historic three-Test series against England at Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens this morning (NZT).
Captaining the Tongans, front rower Fonua-Blake was again imposing, as he has been all season.
On the field for a total of 70 minutes, he made more runs (22) and metres (187) and post-contact metres (56) than any forward from either team along with four tackle breaks and 28 tackles.