Having previously made his name as a damaging ball-running left centre for the Warriors in recent seasons, Solomone Kata is set for a permanent shift to the right edge after having been successfully trialled on that side in the Warriors’ final trial before season 2019 kicks off.
After growing up plying his trade as a right centre through the Warriors’ youth systems, Kata was afforded the opportunity to debut for the Warriors in 2015 off the back of an injury to then regular left centre Ngani Laumapa, which allowed him to cement himself as the Warriors starting centre on the left side from 2015 onwards.
Four-years and 87 NRL appearances later, The Tongan international is set for a shift back to his favoured side following a discussion with Warriors assistant coach Stacey Jones in the pre-season.
“We were doing a drill under fatigue and the put me on the right, everyone was jumping in different positions… Stacey said to me after training, ‘you looked more comfortable on the right’,” Kata told NRL.com.
“I went home and they asked me the next morning if I felt more comfortable on the right, and I said yes.
“I already know I feel more comfortable on the right. I already know what I can do there and what I am capable of.
“I feel comfortable on the right because when I step my left foot is stronger, and I can carry the ball with my right hand and use my left to fend.
“I am looking forward to it and I am pretty sure I am ready for it.”
While the change was made initially with Kata’s best interests in mind, it could also aid another wide player for the Warriors. Namely, David Fusitu’a, whom with which Kata will form one of the largest and most dynamic right-side combinations in the competition in 2019.
After having chosen to represent Tonga over the Kiwis in 2018, Kata is primed and ready for another big season at the Warriors. Assistant coach Stacey Jones detailed to NRL.com why he thought Kata’s shift to the opposite edge would benefit both him and the team as a whole.
“He’s looking good now and getting involved… he’s got a real good connection with both our wingers and Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck],” Jones told NRL.com.
“He’s a player that brings a lot of energy. When he’s talking more than most players on the field, we are generally going pretty good.
“When you have got a bit of versatility there it’s certainly going to help.”
Kata and the Warriors kick off their 2019 season on Saturday, March the 16th against the embattled Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium.