The 25-year-old former All Black has an Olympic medal under his belt, which will undoubtedly benefit him in Friday’s Qualifying Final at Suncorp Stadium, where he will hold his spot on the wing.
Warbrick spent a year in reserve grade with the Sunshine Coast Falcons before making his mark on Melbourne’s right edge in 2023.
He has scored an impressive 16 tries in his first 22 NRL games, including a four-try haul in Round 16. Warbrick believes his previous experiences have prepared him for the finals. Although rugby league and rugby union are different codes, he understands the importance of mental preparation and embracing the pressure that comes with big moments. Warbrick views the finals as just another game under brighter lights and in front of a bigger crowd.
Warbrick’s journey to his maiden finals campaign comes just three years after winning a silver medal with the All Blacks Sevens at Tokyo 2020. Throughout the year, Storm coach Craig Bellamy has been a vocal supporter of the multi-talented player. Warbrick acknowledges Bellamy’s role in his development and credits him for instilling the belief that he belongs in the first-grade team.
Despite his relative lack of experience in rugby league, Warbrick is committed to learning and improving as quickly as possible. He acknowledges that some days as a winger are busier than others, but he is adapting and finding ways to maintain consistency. This season, his focus has been on performing consistently week after week and building on each game.
When Warbrick takes the field on Friday, he and Xavier Coates will line up on opposite wings with contrasting levels of big-game experience. Coates, a left-edge flyer, has played 69 NRL games and has represented Queensland in State of Origin.
In contrast, Warbrick is well-versed in high-pressure moments and has experience on the world stage. Despite this, Warbrick has valued the opportunity to learn from Coates and has embraced the role of the apprentice winger. Coates has been a valuable mentor since Warbrick’s move to Melbourne, providing guidance and sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience.
Warbrick’s journey from the All Blacks to the NRL has been impressive, and he continues to thrive in his debut season. As the Storm set their sights on the finals, Warbrick’s experience and growth throughout the year will undoubtedly play a crucial role in his team’s success. With Bellamy’s guidance, Warbrick has become a key player in Melbourne’s lineup and is prepared to face any challenges that come his way.