Waqa Blake was touted as 'the next Greg Inglis', such was his domination of the game through out junior and reserve grades but now that he's had a significant period in the NRL some are less than impressed with what the explosive outside back has produced.
Round 5. Waqa Blake is selected to make his NRL debut in the midst of an injury crisis at the Penrith Panthers. It's a tough match against the Cowboys, who've started to hit some form, but the debutant still bustles for 100m from 10 runs, 15 tackles (the most by an outside back in the match) and a linebreak. Blake is a flicker of hope in the black hole that is consuming Penrith players
Two months later and Blake hasn't missed a game since. He scored two tries in his first three games in the NRL and is a consistent metre-eater but he's game is unrefined, it's plagued by sloppy play-the-balls and over-zealous defending.
Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad, but Blake's efforts have proven costly at critical stages and after 8 matches in first grade we'd expect to be seeing them less frequently. This is the sentiment echo'd by many Panthers supporters, with some calling for him to be dropped back to NSW Cup for a few weeks.
Unfortunately, Penrith don't have the luxury of demoting a player of Blake's explosiveness at the moment.
With the injury crisis continuing to plague the club, an eclectic performance against the Storm went largely unnoticed thanks to an all-round poor effort by the team but soon Ivan Cleary will need to make the decision; is Waqa Blake worth keeping in the squad once some of the bigger names return from injury?
- Big metres, consistent metres.
- Combination with Isaah Yeo is getting better; the two combined for Penrith's only linebreak against Storm
- Is solid under the high ball ..when he gets his position correct
- Often either unsure or overzealous in defence, Isaah Yeo nullifies this
- Still produces 2-3 sloppy errors per game, particularly when playing the ball
Do you think Waqa Blake should keep his spot in the Panthers starting team?
Highlights from Waqa Blake's debut match v North Queensland Cowboys in Round 5, 2015