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Friday, 29 April 2016

NRL 2016 Round 8 Review – Lest We Forget

Copyright Photo: www.heraldsun.com.au
Lest we forget is the line commonly used in regards to the Anzacs but I think all the Warriors fans will be looking at forgetting the Round 8 clash.

The anthems, the last post, a moment's silen
ce and the Melbourne Storm were all present for this clash, the only no-show for this event was the Vodafone Warriors in an embarrassing result losing 42-0.

After a tough fought win in Wellington the Warriors were looking at starting a run of form but right from kickoff the Warriors were on the back foot.
The Warriors defence also forgot to make the trip to Melbourne and the Storm took advantage of every hole the Warriors left open and never took their foot of the Warriors' throat.
The sin-binning of Blake Ayshford and injuries to Tuimoala Lolohea and Simon Mannering did not help matters as the Warriors went from bad to worse.
The Warriors were behind 28-0 at the break and appeared to improve for the second half but improvement meant preventing the Storm from scoring for the next 15 minutes and then the floodgates opened again with the Storm cruising to victory.

If I had to try to pinpoint what went wrong or the Warriors in this match I would have to say it all came down to attitude, the players appeared to not care, there was no urgency in the defensive line, silly penalties conceded and no attacking threat was present at all.

Where do they go from here? Well, you would hope that they couldn’t possibly get any worse.
Perhaps a complete clean out is required from Andrew McFadden to remove players that don’t seem to be putting the effort in.
Talk about the great depth the Warriors have has been mentioned all year so I say they should use it and bring in some of these other players that are desperate to play first grade they may not be at the same level as the current players but the Warriors need players willing to put effort in not only for the team but for the fans too, speaking of the fans…

My player of the day goes to the fans that stuck with the team and watched that abysmal performance for the entire 80 minutes.
At times, it feels like the fans are more dedicated and passionate about this club compared to the players.
As a fan myself I know how much this game hurt to watch and I know a lot of fans could not stomach the entire game.
The fans will continue to show their support myself included but I think it's fair that this team meet us in the middle and show some heart.

My player that needs to improve goes to the whole team, a major effort is required and you all need to look in the mirror and ask yourself if this really is the best you can do.

This week does not get any easier as the Warriors are playing the St George Illawarra Dragons at Mount Smart Stadium.
The Dragons have been horrible this season but when it comes to the Warriors they don’t seem to put a foot wrong.
The Warriors have not tasted victory versus the Dragons since 2007 and the Dragons are currently on an 11 game winning streak.
Since 1998, these teams have clashed 23 times and the Warriors have only won 4 times.
So the stats are against the Warriors and Andrew McFadden has rung the changes, two because of the injuries to Lolohea and Mannering and then another 5 due to disciplinary reasons (Konrad Hurrell was also affected but as he was not including in the top grade side this week he doesn’t count) but I will write about that saga in another post shortly.
Logic dictates that the Warriors are heading for another loss but I think if the Warriors show some heart and effort they will be able to come away with the victory against this lowly Dragons side.

If you like what I’ve written or disagree let me know, I would love to discuss anything Warriors related in the comments, share it with your friends on Facebook too as I want to get this out to as many people as I can and I know there are so many loyal Warriors fans happy to chat on there.


Hopefully, I will be writing about the Warriors being victorious next time but until then enjoy the game and talk later.

Monday, 25 April 2016

NRL 2016 Round 7 Review – A win in the Cake Tin

Copyright Photo: Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz
The Warriors travelled to Westpac Stadium in Wellington for their Round 7 clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
History has not been good for the Warriors in Wellington; however they did not let this affect them and came away with a hard-fought victory 24-20.

In front of a crowd of just over 18,000 the Warriors managed to bully the Bulldogs forwards into submission early on, Ben Matulino showed that he was returning to form as he was continually hard for the defense to bring down and his quick play the balls gave Issac Luke the opportunities to run out of Dummy half quickly and catch the markers sleeping.

Solomona Kata was unlucky as his two tries were disallowed, the first just 4 minutes into the game was ruled incorrectly as a forward pass and the second was an unfortunate knock on as a Bulldogs defenders shoulder dislodged the ball.
The Warriors continued to attack though and found the line through the returning David Fusitu’a and Blake Ayshford and were leading 8-0 23 minutes into the first half.
Just before Blake scored Roger Tuivasa-Sheck went off with a knee injury (More on that below) and Thomas Leuluai was brought into the halves with Tuimoala Lolohea being sent out to fullback.
The Bulldogs started to show some promise and took advantage of the personal change and cut through the Warriors defense with two quick tries to Sam Perrett to get the Bulldogs ahead 10-8, Kerrod Holland added a final try at the 40th minute to have the Bulldogs leading 14-8 at halftime.
The Warriors came out in the second half and showed to have adjusted to the on-field changes and scored again 6 minutes in with Jonathan Wright out leaping the Bulldogs to claim a Crossfield kick from Shaun Johnson, the remainder of the second half was majority in the Warriors favour as Lolohea crashed over for a scored from Dummy Half and Blake scored his second for the night taking the Warriors to a 24-14 lead, Kerrod Holland repeating his first half performance with another try in the 75 minute but the Bulldogs were unable to mount a comeback due to some poor last tackle options and they lacked the killer execution required to win.

Overall it was a very good performance from the Warriors, after last week’s lacklustre effort from the forwards they really showed up with some impressive runs straight out of the gate, this could always be due to the fact that the Bulldogs opted to have their premier props James Graham and Aiden Tolman start from the bench.
Bodene Thompson made a welcome return to the side and showed how much he was missed with strong defense and runs that had the defense second guessing themselves.
David Fusitu’a continued his top grade form, I cannot recall a bad game from him, let’s just hope that he does not get injured again as his attacking prowess is sorely needed.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been ruled out for the season with a ruptured ACL in his left knee so the Holy Trinity is looking for a replacement and I think Lolohea is up for the task, now while it is a shame that we did not get to see how the  Tuimoala half experiment would go having a player lie Thomas Leuluai there to jump in will help the Warriors in their quest to play finals football, Lolohea is an ideal replacement at Fullback and with continue to play the style he has played all year.

My player of the day goes to Bodene Thompson, as stated above the Warriors have really missed having him on the field, he is a hard working player renowned for his defense but he has been stepping up on attack this season and when he runs the ball he always seems to find a way to put the backs into open space and with a backline like the Warriors anytime they find open space the opposing team is in trouble.

My player who needs to improve was hard this round as I could not really find a player that played poorly so I am going on stats alone and picking Charlie Gubb, Charlie missed 4 tackles and only made 75 metres, the Warriors need a player like Charlie on their bench to bring some aggression into the game but if he continues to miss tackles like this they Warriors would be better suited to bring James Gavet back into the fold.

After this win the Warriors are heading to Melbourne for the always special Anzac day clash, as is the case most years this is the game of the round as both teams seem to bring their A-game.
The Warriors don’t have that bad of a record versus the Storm and have tied the Storm in games played at AAMI Park with both sides winning 3 apiece.
The Storm won the round 3 clash 21-14 but I see the Warriors coming away with the victory by at least 10 points this round, this team is gaining confidence and are on their way to the top 8.

If you like what I’ve written or disagree let me know, I would love to discuss anything Warriors related in the comments, share it with your friends on Facebook too as I want to get this out to as many people as I can and I know there are so many loyal Warriors fans happy to chat on there.


Hopefully, I will be writing about the Warriors being victorious next time but until then enjoy the game tonight and talk later.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

NRL 2016 Round 6 Review – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Well after two wins in a row the Warriors looked to be gaining confidence and the Holy Trinity of Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and Issac Luke appeared to finally have some cohesion heading into this game against the Manly Seagulls.
Unfortunately, for the fans all the improvements the Warriors had made the previous fortnight being thrown out the window as the Woeful Warriors returned losing to Manly 34-18.
I don’t really know what to say about this performance, yes there were some bad calls from the match officials including the incorrect call from the bunker regarding Solomone Kata being tackled in goal (But more about that later) but the Warriors played with no heart in my opinion.
They were careless with the ball and appeared lost on attack, the forwards had no go forward and spent most of the game being driving backwards by a strong Manly defense and Shaun reverted back to not running the ball towards the line or more accurately not running at all.
It could be fair to say that Shaun didn’t attack the line because of the lack of go forward from the pack but it does not excuse the silly errors and easily avoidable penalties.

The Bunker contacting the referee and advising that Solomone Kata had been tackled in goal and to take play back to a drop out was abysmal.
The first point is that the call was incorrect, Kata made it out and the on field Referees made the correct call on the spot.
The second point is if the Bunker has the ability to contact the referee in regards to any error they see on the field, why are they not doing this for all games?
I can think of many moments this season that there have been calls on-field that were wrong and the bunker kept quiet.
They need to either help like this all the time or keep quiet until they are asked for assistance, this call was not needed or asked for and it gave Manly and easy set which resulted in a try.

My player of the day goes to Solomone Kata, in a game where it looked like no one was trying Solomone was still trying to run hard and added another try to his season tally (7 tries which places him 2nd on the top try scorer list), he does need to stop rushing in on defense as that puts extra pressure on the winger outside him and with the trouble the Warriors defense has been having they don’t need him making it harder.

My player who needs to improve goes to a player I never thought I would put in this category and that is Ryan Hoffman.
Ryan missed 6 tackles in this match (The most by any individual player in this game) and let his temper get the better of him, he was clearly frustrated with the calls being made by the officials but as the leader of this team he cannot let things like that affect him because if he if loses his temper and starts trying to fight the opposition what does that say to the rest of the team.
I hope as a fan of the Warriors that he has sorted this out and starts to perform at the level he was consistently at when playing for the Melbourne Storm.

This week the Warriors are travelling down to Wellington to face the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Wellington has not been a good ground for the Warriors, in fact of the 5 times the Warriors have faced the Bulldogs here the best they have managed is a draw.
Andrew McFadden has made some changes to the side for this contest dropping Jeff Robson from the side and moving Tuimoala Lolohea into the halves and giving Shaun back his number 7 jersey, David Fusitu’a has been brought in to replace Tui on the wing, the only other change is bringing Ligi Sao onto the bench (In new today it was announced that Konrad Hurrell was playing for the New South Wales Cup side so Ligi has taken Konrads position on the Warriors bench).
I am happy with these changes, Tui has been wasted on the wing and Jeff hasn’t offered any value yet this year so it was an easy decision to make and in fact should have been made weeks ago. David Fusitu’a has been battling injury but when he is fit he hasn’t disappointed while performing in the top grade and will be staying on the wing for the rest of season if he stays fit.
Ligi I think has been brought in to address that lack of go forward we saw last week.
The Bulldogs have been consistently inconsistent this year and I believe this is the time for the Warriors to strike, the Holy Trinity need to gel and put the Bulldogs to the sword.
I believe that if they do the basics right and avoid silly penalties the Warriors will walk away with the victory and I'm picking them to win the game by two.

If you like what I've written or disagree with what I think then let me know, i would love to discuss anything Warriors related in the comments, share it with your friends on facebook too as I want to get this out to as many people as I can and I know there are so many loyal Warriors fans happy to chat on there.



Hopefully, I will be writing about the Warriors getting back on track next time but until then enjoy the game tonight and talk later.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

NRL 2016 Round 5 Review: Spine Starts to Click in Golden Point Victory

Images www.photosport.nz & www.warriors.kiwi
After getting their first win of the season last week the Warriors travelled to Central Coast Stadium to play the winless Sydney Roosters.
Both teams went back and forth with the lead and ended 28 all at the final whistle, Golden Point lasted just over a minute when Tuimoala Lolohea defused a kick and made a break and passed to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck who finished the play off under the post to give the victory to the Warriors 32-28.

The Roosters have been unlucky this season and have had a few victories in their grasp only to let it slip in the last few minutes and this game was no exception, at times it seemed that the Roosters were going to finally break their win drought but the Warriors kept themselves in the game with an improved defensive effort and some smart gameplay.
Overall the Warriors still have a lot of room for improvement but the highly touted spine is starting to gel and create opportunities for themselves, as long as they continue to take advantage of these opportunities the Warriors will continue to add wins to their ledger.
There was one call in the game that has caused a lot of comments and that was when Ryan Hoffman was pulled back when going for a loose ball over the try line, the on-field result was a penalty but fans thought a penalty try was deserved, now after watching it a few times I don’t think a penalty try was valid as you could not definitively say that Ryan would have scored the try so I was happy with the penalty.
In the days after the game Referee’s Boss Tony Archer has commented on this call and advised that the Referee’s and the Bunker made the wrong call and that the Rooster’s should have been penalised and Aidan Guerra needed to be sin-binned for his actions.
The Bunker has been under a lot of pressure and it sounds like Tony Archer is going to start standing down officials who are underperforming.
Hopefully, this means that the referee’s performance will improve but time will tell.

My player of the day goes to Tuimoala Lolohea.
Tui injected himself into this game setting up two tries , everyone is talking about the golden point matchwinner but the first try he set up for Shaun Johnson was more impressive.
The way he is playing he is screaming for a halves spot and if Jeff Robson continues his subpar performances he may very well take it from him.
His attack has always been very strong but his defensive positioning has improved drastically this season and I think he is going to only get stronger as the season continues.

My player who needs to improve was mentioned above but it goes to Jeff Robson, he continues to miss tackles and that can be tolerated if the Warriors have players around him to clean up but the facet of his game that is causing headaches is his ball handling.
As a fan of this team, it breaks my heart seeing the Warriors start a set well to have the ball fumbled by Jeff when they start to move it wide.
The pressure is on Jeff right now with Tuimoala playing out of his skin and also with Thomas Leuluai returning from injury this week.
His time in First grade could be over if there isn't some instant improvement.

This round the Warriors are bringing back Saturday night football at Mount Smart Stadium playing the Many Sea Eagles.
Manly haven’t played their best football this season but their halves pairing of Dylan Walker and Apisai Koroisau caused the Rabbitohs a lot of problems and the Warriors will need to keep them contained if they want to walk away with the victory.
I'm looking forward to this game, the atmosphere is always special at Mount Smart on a Saturday night and this game will be no different.
It will be a close game but I'm picking the Warriors to walk away with the victory here.
Talk to you all next week.


Saturday, 2 April 2016

NRL 2016 Round 4 Review: A Game of Two Halves

Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
Well after 260 days the streak is finally over with the Warriors getting the victory over the Newcastle Knights 40-18.
This truly was a game of two halves with the Warriors appearing a bit gun shy in the first half, passes were sloppy and their last tackle options left a lot to be desired but they still managed to have the game locked at 12 all at the end of the half.
A rev up from Coach Andrew McFadden kicked the Warriors into gear and they piled on 5 unanswered tries before the Knights got a late try to end the game.

Stat’s wise the Warriors were all over the Knights, their defense was improved (Only missing 19 tackles which was the second best performance in the round), and they ran almost double the metres with a total of 1434 metres compared to the Knights 780.
Manu Vatuvei returned and played his best game of the season averaging just less than 9 metres every time he ran the ball.
Overall this was a pleasing performance, still lots of room for improvement but they have the monkey of the back after ending the losing streak and can now move forward and make an impact in this competition.
Shaun Johnson improved dramatically this week and was threatening the line and opening holes for the rest of the team to get through; hopefully, this is the start of him getting back to his dangerous self again.

My player of the day goes yet again to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the third week in a row.
He is leading the competition with overall running metres and was a genuine threat whenever he held the football.
A positive for the Warriors is that Roger has yet to reach his best form yet.
A special mention goes to Manu Vatuvei; his hit-ups from the Warriors own 20 gave their sets the start they needed.

My player who needs to improve is Jeff Robson, Jeff missed 3 tackles this game (Taking his season total to 19 which is second worse in the competition), he also made three handling errors and these are things he needs to work on immediately if he wants to stay in the side.
Thomas Leuluai is due back from his injury soon and very well may take his position off him if he continues his poor form.

On another note I must say it was good to see Konrad Hurrell back out on the field, his minutes were limited but he had a few good runs and I think the Warriors need to find a place for him in the 17 every week, his runs help the team get the go forward required especially when the props are tiring and he seems very keen to get on the field and get amongst it.
They need to use his enthusiasm to the team’s advantage.

The next game up for the Warriors is against the Sydney Roosters; the Roosters are yet to win in 2016 and will be desperate to change that.
I think if the Warriors play with the same intensity they showed in the second half against the Knights they will get the win in a close encounter but we will talk about that game in next week’s piece.

I hope everyone enjoys Round 5 and I will see you all next week.