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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

NZ Warriors Round 24 Review: Warriors woes continue after seventh straight defeat

Copyright Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
After the Raiders dealt the Warriors their biggest losing margin of the season the Warriors headed to Sydney to face the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
After conceding 20 points, the Warriors had a lot of room for improvement, and after highly contested first half they fell away to the more disciplined Rabbitohs to lose 36-18.

The Warriors started the match with purpose and were quick to take advantage of an Alex Johnston error to be the first team to score with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck touching down.
Alex made amends scoring a try of his own to draw the match level taking advantage of a consistently weak Warriors edge defense.
Pressure from the Warriors lead to more handling errors, and a slew of penalties was too much for the Rabbitohs as Simon Mannering crashed over to hand the Warriors the lead for the second time.
This appeared to spurn the Rabbitohs into action as Cameron Murray took advantage of some lackluster defense to bring the Rabbitohs back into contention.
Nearing the end of the first half, the Warriors discipline started to falter, and Adam Reynolds slotted a penalty attempt to end the first half 12 all.

Both sides traded sets with neither gaining the upper hand until Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored his second try of the match.
This was the last shot fired by the Warriors in this game as the Rabbitohs took advantage of a tired and ill disciplined Warriors side and ran in four more tries via Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker, and Alex Johnston.
With Alex completing a hat trick to give the Rabbitohs a well deserved 36-18 win and make the Warriors current losing streak to seven.

Copyright Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
My Warrior of the match goes to Simon Mannering.
It is a truly ironic that the most inconsistent team in the NRL has one of the most consistent performers in the NRL.
Once again Simon made the most meters from the Warriors forward pack lead the tackle count, scored a try, made a line break and set up Rogers second try.
Simon goes above and beyond for this side, and he deserves better performances from his teammates.
It would be interesting to hear his real thoughts on this team and his teammates, and perhaps we may hear it after he retires.


Copyright Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
My Warrior who needs to improve goes to Kieran Foran.
I am compiling a list of my top 10 worst Warriors signings, and Kieran is going to be a contender for the top of that list.
With Shaun Johnson injured Kieran was meant to start taking control of the Warriors and lead them to glory but Kieran has been Mr. Invisible all year.
Kieran needs to wake up, he has had two young halves come in and perform at a higher level, and some would say that Mason Lino and Ata Hingano are not even first-grade caliber players.
He has two games left with the Warriors, and I think the Bulldogs will be having second thoughts at signing him now.

Despite an improved first half the Warriors still showed the same issues they have been having all season.
Weak edge defense and poor discipline consistently put the Warriors on the back foot.
Stephen Kearney likes to promote the Warriors high completion rate which is one of the highest in the NRL in 2017, however, what use is a high completion rate when your team cannot convert those sets into points?

Stephen Kearneys continued lack of understanding of how to use an interchange baffles me.
Jacob Lillyman injured himself and did not return in the second half of this match, and Stephen only used his two interchange props for 12 and 20 minutes a piece.
After losing James Gavet and Albert Vete to injury and Ben Matulino out with suspension for this match the Warriors really need to be smarter with how they use the interchange, but it is evident right now Stephen Kearney is a long way off from being a smart coach.

Stephen claims that several of his current starting side are not up to first-grade football and that the young players in the ISP are not ready for first grade but as of yet has shown no progress in recruiting talent for 2018.
Rumours say that Adam Blair is heading to the Knights and James Graham is off to the Dragons so the Warriors have lost out on the two big prop options available, and I am struggling to think of who the Warriors can look at bringing in to strengthen their pack.

This week the Warriors are playing at Mount Smart Stadium for the final time in 2017 facing the Manly Sea Eagles.
Shaun Johnson has been named to return, with the season over I would have kept him on the sidelines to prepare for next season but Stephen obviously is desperate to break the seven match losing streak, and a Warriors team with Shaun is more likely to do that.
However, I think it is too little too late and Manly will smell blood in the water and will be looking at making it a rough day for Warriors fans, so I'm picking Manly to win by 14.

Can the Warriors get any worse?
Unfortunately, I think so, 2017 has been horrible, and 2018 appears to not be shaping up any better.
Unless there are some significant changes in this club, the Warriors may very well be wooden spoon contenders.

So that was a dreadful Round 24, and per usual I will leave you with some questions.

What is your score prediction for the Sea Eagles match?
Is this the worst season ever for the Warriors?
Will 2018 be just as bad?
Do you think the Warriors will get another win this season?



Tuesday, 15 August 2017

NZ Warriors Round 23 Review: Warriors spineless in sixth straight defeat

Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
After the embarrassment of Round 22, the Warriors headed back to Mount Smart Stadium for the second to last time in 2017 to face the Canberra Raiders.
In front of their smallest crowd of the year, the embarrassing Warriors run continued with their sixth loss in a row.

The Warriors were close to being the first to score with Solomone Kata unable to ground a grubber over the line.
He stayed down clutching his shoulder as the Raiders went the length of the field with Nick Cotric making easy work of the Warriors right edge defence to score.
Ten minutes later Cotric was at it again this time putting Jarrod Croker over the line.
The Warriors were next to score after throwing the ball around with David Fusitu’a finishing the play in the corner.
Only 6 points down the Warriors looked to be clawing their way back into the match until Issac Luke dropped the ball from dummy half, killing all momentum.
The Raiders yet again took advantage and scored for the third time with Blake Austin evading several tacklers to go into the break 18-6.
Both sides battled trade blows for the first 20minutes of the second half with neither side getting the upper hand until Roger Tuivasa-Sheck barged over to bring the Warriors back within reach.
Ken Maumalo dropped the ball on the next set to give the Raiders back the ball in good position, and Joseph Leilua proved hard to stop as he got the Raiders fourth try.
That was the straw that broke the camels back as the Raiders scored two more tries in the final stages of the game through Jordon Rapana and Nick Cotric.
The Warriors finished the match with a try in the last minute to Isaiah Papalii, but it was too little too late as the Raiders were the victors 36-16.

Copyright Photo: www.raiders.com.au
I have no Warrior of the match this round, some of the younger players did show that they were trying, but the team as a whole was dreadful, and there wasn't enough from any individual to highlight but that Nick Cotric is a talent isn't he.

Copyright Photo: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
My Warrior who needs to improve is going to the entire team.
Three games remain in the abomination of a season, and if the Knights and Tigers continue their current form, there is still a chance that the Warriors could wind up with their first ever wooden spoon.
I would like to say that after 6 losses in a row the Warriors will finally wake up but after listening to the Coach and players alike, they still have their heads in the sand and are well on their way to 7 losses in a row.

I don't know what is funnier, this excuse of a performance from the Warriors or the fact that the Warriors Officials faked the crowd numbers.
There definitely was not 10,000 fans in that Stadium on Sunday Afternoon I will be interested to see how many bother to show up for the last home game of the year in Round 25.

But back to the actual performance or lack thereof.
The Warriors had three repeat seats in a row camped on the Raiders try line and could not convert that territory and possession into points.
They just had no idea, it looked like there was no game plan and they continued to shoot themselves in the foot with unforced errors.
Every single time the Warriors appeared to get themselves back into the match they got themselves back out of it.
All but one of the Raiders tries came after a Warriors error, and with the way they have been performing as of late, they just cannot give the other teams easy opportunities.

The Edges were found out defensively yet again, and I'm sure that Rapana and Leilua were licking their lips all week knowing they had Kata and Maumalo opposite them.
This was the Warriors largest losing score margin in 2017, and I fear that there is more to come before the season is out.

This week the Warriors head back to Australia to face the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night
With the way the Warriors have been performing, I didn't see a victory coming their way.
Foran comes back into the side with Mason Lino being dropped, if it were me, I would have stuck with Mason and Ata in the halves and leave Foran in Sydney.
With Ben Matulino out with suspension, the forward pack has taken another hit and just cannot see them having enough to overcome the Rabbitohs at home, so I am picking a South Sydney win by 12.

Talks around the grounds of Eric Watson selling the club to Paul Davys seems to be gaining traction.
If the sale is confirmed it may be just what the Warriors need, a clean slate with a new set of eyes.
It creates so many questions, would he keep the coach? The players?
What changes could possibly happen with a new owner?
Also if the buyout is rejected what changes will Eric Watson make in the organisation as it is clear that this club is failing.

So that was an abysmal Round 24, and per usual I will leave you with some questions.

What is your score prediction for the Rabbitohs match?
What do you think of Eric Watson potentially selling the Warriors?
Would you have dropped Mason Lino?
Do you think the Warriors will get another win this season?



Tuesday, 8 August 2017

NZ Warriors Round 22 Review: Embarrassment at McDonald Jones Stadium sums up Warriors 2017

Copyright Photo: www.newcastleknights.com.au
After an abysmal Round 21 against the Cronulla Sharks, the Warriors made the journey to Newcastle to face a Knights team buoyed by their upset Round 21 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Both teams are only playing for pride at this stage of the competition, and the Knights proved they are not the easy beats they were in 2016 with a resounding 26-10 victory over and pathetic Warriors side.

The Warriors lacked discipline for the second week in a row giving away silly penalties, and they Knights were quick to strike, scoring two tries in the first 10 minutes.
After the first quarter wobbles the Warriors looked to be getting themselves into the match with a try to David Fusitu’a, after another lapse in discipline the Knights added 2 more points from an easy penalty attempt to go into the half time break leading 16-4.

The Warriors only started to show a sign of fight when Issac Luke was pulled and replaced with a hungry Nathaniel Roache, but that didn't stop the Knights running in their third try at the hour mark.
Roache got the Warriors second try of the night a few moments later to give the Warriors a sniff of a comeback.
But the Knights crushed all hopes of that with their fourth try of the evening via man of the match Brock Lamb with 8 minutes remaining to finally end the Warriors worse game of 2017 with a 26-10 defeat.

Copyright Photo: www.warriors.kiwi
My Warrior of the game goes to the Warriors ever suffering fans.
Years of let-downs were finally meant to be over in 2017, the Club talked a big game leading into this season with a new coach, Kieran Foran being the final piece of the puzzle and a “process” that would change the clubs fortune.
But yet again Warriors fans have been left to lament what could have been.
It’s a hard life as a Warriors fan, and one that I believe is never actually acknowledged by the Club, so I am acknowledging you here, I hope 2018 bears fruit for this club, but as of right now it is not looking great.

Copyright Photo: www.warriors.kiwi
My Warrior who needs to improve is Issac Luke.
In a team that appeared to not want to be there and in turn offered very little in a fight, Issac by far was the crown jewel of disappointment.
With Shaun Johnson, Ryan Hoffman, Bodene Thompson and James Gavet all out injured, the Warriors really need a player like Issac to set up as a leader.
He has instead been on a decline, in the team named to face the Raiders in Round 23 Issac has at least been dropped which is rightly deserved.

What an embarrassment this game was.
The Knights haven't had back to back wins since 2015 and apart from a dropped ball at kick off the Knights never looked like losing this match.
The Warriors never got off the plane for this game, there was maybe 4 players out of the 17 that appeared to be putting in some effort.
Kieran Foran has gone into hiding since Shaun Johnson got injured, leaving Mason Lino to take up the crucial playmaker role.
Kieran has already left the Warriors mentally and really needs to look himself in the Mirror and put some effort in for the final four matches of his Warriors career, but then again does he really care what happens here?

The Warriors lack heart, desire and passion and show no signs of life anymore.
2017 has been a long season, and with 4 games left against the Raiders, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles and the Wests Tigers, I believe it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
The Tigers may be the only win the Warriors can get in the next month and with the way they are playing right now I don't think the will even defeat them.


This week the Warriors are back at Mount Smart to face the Canberra Raiders.
Stephen Kearney talked a tough game after the Knights defeat and vowed to wield the axe on the side but he barely even sharpened the axe with the only changes in his team being Ryan Hoffman making his return from injury and Issac Luke being related to the bench.
With fans baying for blood and Kearney's head, Stephen really needed to make a stand, the fans and more importantly the players now know that Kearney is all talk.

Talks of the Warriors signing Adam Blair for next season have also divided the fans, I currently haven't made up my mind yet.
On the one hand, if the Adam Blair that played for the Storm and now plays for the Broncos comes here it would be a welcomed signing, on the other hand, if it is the Adam Blair that played for the Tigers comes here then he can stay away.
Reports say that Adam Blair doesn't want to leave the Broncos so that would lead me to suspect that they would be signing the Tigers Blair so I would most likely be avoiding that signing and looking at other options.
In an Ideal world, the Warriors would sign James Graham.
He is the player I would be throwing my money at, he still has a year left on his Bulldogs contract, but with rumours of the Bulldogs having to shed players to make cap room the Warriors may be able to swoop in and get him early.
The biggest issue the Warriors will have right now is trying to convince players of a good calibre to come here after six seasons of failure.

But onto Round 23’s match.
The Raiders have a strong side with a large forward pack and threats throughout the back line, and I predict them being too strong for the Warriors and I'm picking the Raiders to win by 10.

So that was a disastrous Round 22, and as per usual, I will leave you with some questions.

What is your score prediction for the Raiders match?
What do you think of the Adam Blair recruitment rumour?
What changes would you have made for the Raiders match?

Do you think the Warriors will get another win this season?