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'I've been really impressed' - Warriors coach praises winger Ken Maumalo

When Stephen Kearney isn't blaspheming about Ken Maumalo, he's describing the strapping Warriors winger as among the most improved players in the NRL.

Saturday's relieving win over St George Illawarra was notable for the sight of a pumped-up Kearney in the coach's box imploring Maumalo to put the ball down after crossing late to put the Warriors in front in Brisbane.

Kearney laughed off his expletive-laden reaction this week as "just getting a bit excited".

Instead there were platitudes for the 24-year-old, who has been a shining light on the left flank all season.

Maumalo is no worse than fourth in four key attacking categories across the NRL - runs, running metres, line breaks and tries.

However, it is areas such as kick receipts, defensive reads and error reduction that has most caught the eye of his coach.

Kearney noticed big strides in all facets from Maumalo at the end of last year, including a starring role on the Kiwis tour of Great Britain.

"What I've been really impressed from Ken is that right from the end of last season to coming back, he wants to find areas of his game that he needs to improve, that he can be better at," Kearney said.

"That's part of wanting to be one of the best wingers in the competition. You will always strive to find ways to get yourself better."

Last year fellow Warriors winger David Fusitu'a won the headlines for his NRL- leading try tally of 23.

Maumalo was recognised more as a metre eater, ending the campaign with just five four-pointers.

This year he's doing it all, bagging seven tries from nine appearances while sitting just behind James Tedesco and David Klemmer for metres run.

One of Maumalo's tries last year came against Friday's opponents, Penrith, who thrashed them 34-4 at Panthers Park in one of the most feeble efforts of the Warriors' season.

Ken Maumalo. Auckland Warriors v St George Dragons. NRL Rugby League.Magic Round 2019 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, New Zealand. May 11, 2019. © Copyright photo: Patrick Hamilton / www.photosport.nz
Warriors winger Ken Maumalo in action against the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Source: Photosport


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