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Sunday, 27 March 2016

NRL 2016 Round 3 Review – Improving But is that enough?

Image from www.warriors.kiwi
Well, the first home game for the Warriors has come and gone with the Warriors falling to the Melbourne Storm 21-14.
I was meant to write earlier than this but emotions were high for me after this game so I have waited until now to compile my thoughts.

The first thing I want to say is that the NRL need to seriously look into Henry Perena’s performances, he had an absolutely horrendous performance in this game and after watching him this round he was possibly even worse.
Players are held accountable when they do not perform and the referees need the same treatment.
Now please don’t take that as me saying the referees cost the Warriors the game because I don’t believe that to be the case, the Warriors had enough chances to take this game but they just didn’t play smart enough.
When the game was tied at 14 all with ten minutes to go the Warriors had good enough field position to go for a field goal but they did not take it, Melbourne, on the other hand, took this opportunity given to them and marched up the field and slotted the goal.
The Warriors now a point behind tried to pull a Rabbit (Ha-ha it’s Easter, you see what I did there) out of the hat and wound up standing under their own posts after Marika Koroibete scooped a dropped ball and scored a try to close out the game.
It was a horrible drive home for me, anger was one of the many emotions filling my car, the Warriors were so close to breaking their win drought but just could not close the game out.
The hosts of the radio station I was listening too said the Warriors showed improvement and while this is true they need to start playing smart and converting improved performances into victories.

My player of the game was Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the second week in a row.
His defense is continuing to get better each week (No missed tackles from him this week) and he ran for 231 metres, he has run for 200+ metres every game this year.
If he can start running off the shoulders of the forwards ready for offloads he could start converting those runs into points.
I also want to give a special mention to Jazz Tevaga, he was a late call-up with Issac Luke being ruled out last minute and played very well in his debut, his future will be a bright one especially being able to learn from a veteran like Luke.

Unfortunately, my player who needs to improve is also unchanged from last week in Shaun Johnson.
Shaun did run a bit more but his last tackle options are just not up to the standard they need to be.
He has come out this week and said that his confidence is still up after his injury last season but I feel that his breakout game is just around the corner.
Shaun will be back to his best, the fans will just be hoping it is sooner rather than later.

This week the Warriors are hosting the Newcastle Knights on Easter Monday.
Monday games are horrible for me as a fan because I hate waiting that long to watch the Warriors play.
The Warriors should get the victory over the lacklustre Knights and if they don’t walk away with the win all the talk of them improving will be thrown out the window.
I believe the Warriors will run away with this game and I must say that I cannot wait for them to get their first win and also finally get to see Konrad Hurrell play again, I feel that his blockbusting runs have been sorely missed and with Manu Vatuvei still out they need him out there to help add an extra punch to the hit-ups coming out of their own 20.


So Monday Football here we come, let’s see the end of the streak and I will talk to you all next week.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

NRL 2016 Round 2 Review – Injuries Change the Game

Copyright Photo: Jason O'Brien / www.photosport.nz
The Vodafone Warriors came into Round 2 with a lot of extra baggage after the poor performance versus the Tigers in round one and playing in Brisbane against the 2015 grand finalist Broncos was not really the place you want to be when you are under the pump.
The Warriors started better this round but had trouble finding the try line and made poor last tackle plays, injuries to Blake Ayshford (Concussion) and Manu Vatuvei (Ribs) affecting the interchange and the Warriors just could not get into the game losing 25-10.
The big concern coming out of this game was the lack of last tackle options and Shaun Johnson just didn’t show up (2 runs for 3 metres is a shocking performance).
All was not woeful though as the error rate has come down, the Warriors are currently third in the NRL in regards to not making errors.
The defense was better this week but losing a centre and winger was the final straw as the defense fell apart with players having to play out of position, however, 28 missed tackles are still not acceptable.

This loss further added to the pressure the Warriors have on them and the calls for changes in the coaching staff are only getting louder.
Matthew Johns is back to being vocal about the Warriors, I’m not sure what the Warriors did to him in his playing career but he really has a bone to pick with them ever year.
People seem to forget that there are 6 teams with a 0-2 record and some of them are meant to be top sides (Dragons, Sea Eagles and the Roosters).
I still believe the Warriors will be a top 8 side this season and I feel that the moment they click together as a unit they will be a formidable side.

My Warriors player of the week is Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, his defense still needs to improve but we started to see him run again which is something this team needs as if he becomes the attacking threat we all know he can be it will open up opportunities for the players around him.

The Warrior who needs to improve this week is Shaun Johnson.
So much is expected of him as the “Superstar” of this squad but I’m not sure where he was this week because he just didn’t show up.
When he hits the line he puts doubt into opposing team’s defense and open holes for other players to target and the Warriors need as many holes to get through as possible.
Shaun will come back strong this week when he is backed into a corner by the fans and media he usually burst through the other side with a blinder of a performance so Melbourne may be in for a rough time.

That’s right Round 3 is the Warriors versus the Melbourne Storm in what is the first home game of the season for the Warriors.
Games against Melbourne are always great to watch and the Warriors have a pretty even record with Craig Bellamy’s side, in fact, the last win the Warriors managed to get in the NRL was at Mount Smart in Round 18 of the 2015 season I’m a 28-14 match that is most remembered for the Nathan Friend back flip pass.
I have a good feeling about this rounds game and I’m looking forward to getting to go to my first game of the year.
It looks like Manu Vatuvei will not be fit to play and I’m hoping that Konrad Hurrell makes the cut to replace him but, either way, I’m picking that the Warriors will be locking in the first win of the season.


Fingers crossed by this Warriors Tragic and talk to you all next week.

Friday, 11 March 2016

NRL 2016 Round 1 Review – Slow Start breaks Hearts

Copyright Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
The Vodafone Warriors kicked off the 2016 NRL Season in the way they have since 2009 with a loss going down 34-26 to Wests Tigers in Campbelltown.
The team carried a lot of expectation on their shoulders leading into this game and by halftime it appeared to be all but over with the Tigers leading 28-4.
The Warriors attempted a comeback and made it a two point game at 28-26, Shaun Johnson tried some last ditch magic with 80 seconds remaining but it was unsuccessful as James Tedesco collected the football from Shaun’s chip and chase and ran 60 metres to score to end the game 34-26.

The issues the Warriors had in 2015 reared their head again in this game as the Warriors defence was severely lacking and this needs to be turned around otherwise it could be another long season.
The team did show that they could still score points they just need to reduce the errors and not let teams get away to big leads as playing catch-up football is never a good situation for them to be in.

Calls for Andrew McFadden’s head started up again as early as halftime and only intensified in the days after this loss and to be honest I am over it.
The Warriors fans and media’s answer to bad results is always to sack someone, most of the time that someone being the coach.
History has showed that firing coaches at Mount Smart has never really solved any problems.

It is only round one and the season is nowhere near over, the Warriors know what to do and it will be a bad season if they continue to make the same mistakes but if they fix the defense and error rate they will make a dent in this competition.
If you look at the results from Round One in 2015, five of the eight final series teams suffered defeat with the Grand Finalists teams both being dealt large losses.
The Brisbane Broncos lost 36-6 to the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the 2015 Champion North Queensland Cowboys lost 28-4 to the Sydney Roosters, not to mention the Cowboys lost the next two games as well.
So I think everyone needs to pump the brakes and give this team a chance to improve.

My player of the game was Bodene Thompson.
He came in to the game earlier than expected with the heart breaking injury to Ben Henry (News today is he has suffered a broken Patella and no word on when he will be returning yet) and he made an immediate impact and provided some starch to the defensive line.

My player who most needs to improve is Issac Luke, Issac seemed to me to not be that interested.
The Warriors need his intensity and his nippy runs from dummy half.
He is a tremendous player and I’m sure he will come back stronger in Round 2.

Round 2 brings another away game, this time visiting Brisbane and playing the 2015 runner up Broncos.
The pressure is on the Warriors to come back strong after Round 1’s lacklustre performance and the Broncos will be looking to send the Warriors back across the Tasman with a 0-2 record.
Both teams have impressive backlines but this game will come down to the battle of the forwards, the Warriors will need to come in hard and fast and get the momentum rolling to unleash their backline.
I’m looking forward to this game and hopefully I will writing about the Warriors first win of the competition next week.

Look out for the battle between Ben Matulino and Sam Thaiday to take front and centre stage and I’m also interested in seeing how Corey Oates will go after an amazing game last week and if Manu Vatuvei can contain him and vice versa.


Let’s bring on Round 2 and see you next week.