Veteran Warriors hooker Nathan Friend was the unlikely, acrobatic talk of Round 18 after producing one of 2015’s most freakish plays. The 34-year-old’s somersault and simultaneous through-the-legs pass that set up Tuimoala Lolohea’s second try in the win over Melbourne has to be seen – multiple times – to be believed.
Climbing high to mark a Chad Townsend bomb near the Storm’s line, which was improbable enough given the rake stands at only 172cm, the evergreen Friend back-flipped after colliding with Melbourne forward Kenny Bromwich and somehow threw a perfect pass between his own legs despite being upside down.
The subsequent frantic passage included two touches by Sam Tomkins, a flick pass by Shaun Johnson and quick hands from David Fusitua before Lolohea’s excellent put-down in the corner as the Storm defence converged for what is being hailed as the try of the year.
The 28-14 result lifted the Warriors into the top-four for the first time this season and could provide the impetus for their first finals appearance since the club’s run to the 2011 Grand Final.
Friend, who remains unsigned for 2016 following the high-profile acquisition of Kiwi Test hooker Issac Luke, is a vital part of the Warriors’ burgeoning campaign this year after Thomas Leuluai suffered a season-ending injury.
Whether he remains in Auckland next season or not, the head-geared No.9 has earned a perpetual place on Rugby League highlight reels for years to come.
— Fatima Kdouh (@FatimaKdouh_) July 12, 2015