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Friday, 26 August 2016

NRL 2016 Round 24 Review: Warriors outplayed and outclassed in Townsville

Copyright Photo: Getty images

The Warriors travelled to Townsville to face the North Queensland Cowboys in a must-win match to keep their playoffs hopes alive and for the second week in a row when the Warriors had the chance to control their own destiny they crumpled under pressure.

The Warriors were outclassed by the Cowboys who dominated them in all facets of the game.
They kept the pressure on the Warriors and kept them camped in their own half for the majority of the game and the Warriors were never in the contest losing 34-6.

The biggest issue in the past fortnight has been the Warriors handling errors.
For two weeks in a row, the Warriors have dropped the ball early in their sets and almost always when they are in their own half.
When you give any team let alone the reigning premier Cowboys, all the possession and territory you are going to struggle to compete.
The Warriors were bullied into submission and the Cowboys made them look like amateurs.

Shaun Johnson went missing in this game and left Ata Hingano to attempt to lead the side around on his debut.
Ata was one of the only highlights in this match, he got more minutes than he was expecting and when Shaun threw up the white flag, Ata showed signs of fight but unfortunately the Warriors forwards were never in the game.
The forward pack has been laughably average, Ben Matulino has offered nothing to the Warriors all season and Jacob Lillyman has been a shadow of his former self since returning from State of Origin duty.
If I was involved with the coaching staff, I would be dropping both Matulino and Lillyman and bringing Bunty Afoa and either James Gavet or Toafofoa Sipley into their spots.
Watching this game it looked like the Backline was doing the majority of the hit ups
when you get the third tackle and Blake Ayshford is taking the hit up instead of a big forward you just have to scratch your head.
It just looks and feels like the team has given up on the season with the exception of maybe 3 or 4 players who still seem to be putting the effort in.

My Player of the day goes to Simon Mannering, Simon was out there tackling anyone who crossed his path, if the rest of the team just put 15% of the effort that Simon does on game day the Warriors would be a much-improved team.
There were times in that game where you could see the frustration on Simon's face at the performance the rest of the team was putting in.

My player that needs to improve goes to the entire team.
Heading to Townsville was always going to be tough but when the season is on the line you need to show up.
I don't really know what else to say but the Warriors team of last month needs to return quicksmart.

So after that loss the Warriors playoff hopes now fully rely on them not only winning their last two games but the Titans need to lose their last two games.
Could it happen, well yes there is a chance but the Warriors need to quickly return to form and ensure that they drastically improve for the last two rounds.
This week the Warriors return to Mount Smart and face the Tigers who haven't played well since the loss of James Tedesco but they did put the Warriors to the sword in the first round so they are no easy beats by any means.
I am picking the Warriors to win by 10.

What were your thoughts on the game?
What changes (if any) would you make to the team?
Would you bring Ata Hingano into the starting lineup?
Do you think the Warriors are going to make the eight?

Comment below and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

NRL 2016 Round 23 Review: Warriors fail to show up in woeful performance

Copyright Photo : Fiona Goodall /
The largest crowd of the season came to Mount Smart expected to witness a win over what has been a disappointing Rabbitohs outfit who were on a 9 game losing streak.
Instead, however, they were forced to witness a hapless Warriors side lose 41-22 in what was the Warriors worst performance since Round 11.

The game did start well with the Warriors dominating the Rabbitohs for the first 10minutes, forcing repeat sets and scoring through Solomona Kata.
Then the game started to unravel, the Warriors attack was filled with handling errors, the forwards had no go forward and were bullied all night and the last tackle options were woeful, I am not a halfback but I do not understand why every last tackle option had to be a grubber kick into the in-goal area, when you look at the Warriors right edge attack consisting of David Fusitu’a and Ken Maumalo, why not put a kick up and let them use their height advantage?

The Warriors defense was sub-par, there was no line speed, no urgency or desperation, and their defensive positioning was school boy level at best.
With the season still very much in limbo to see the Warriors perform this poorly was dishearting and with how tight the top 8 currently is this loss may very well come back to bite the Warriors and their playoff aspirations.
Watching this game live at Mount Smart the main thing I was most disheartened by was the perceived lack of effort or care shown by the majority of the team.
When the Rabbitohs finished their sets with kicks to the Warriors goal line I sat in disbelief as I watched the Warriors backs try and get the Warriors out of their own half as all the forwards just walked back slowly like it was a training run.
As a fan it felt like they didn’t care, I could only pick two forwards that looked like they were trying their best and they were Albert Vete and Ryan Hoffman.
Overall this game was a huge disappointment and this team has a lot of work to do to get back to the level required to make the playoffs.

My Warrior of the day was hard as there weren’t many options to choose from but I choose Albert Vete.
Albert was the only front rower that offered any impact with his carries, Albert has come a long way this season and I hope that his performances start to rub off of Ben Matulino and Jacob Lillyman who have not offered a lot in recent times and the Warriors need their whole prop rotation to be performing if they want to take advantage of the backline they possess.

My Warrior who needs to improve goes to Tuimoala Lolohea.
In a woeful Warriors performance Lolohea by far had the worst performance, he never seemed to be in the right position defensively and the Rabbitohs took advantage.
He needed to show some guts when defending as a lot of the tries that the Rabbitohs scored may very well have not happened if he put his body on the line, he is young and talented but he still has a long way to go and I still believe that he should not be used as a Fullback.
He has been dropped for this week’s game and I think it is the right call, I’m sure he will come back stronger from this setback.

This Round the Warriors travel to North Queensland to face the reigning premier Cowboys in what will be the Warriors last away game unless the reach the playoffs
The ramifications of this matchup have increased after the Warriors loss in Round 23, the Warriors really need the win here and if there is ever a good time to play the Cowboys in Queensland it might be now as their form has not been that great for the past month.
If the Warriors can return to the form they had from Round 12-22 they can walk away with the victory but if the Forwards decide to not show up again the Warriors are going to be in for a long night and possibly another year of failing to reach the playoffs.

What were your thoughts on the Warriors performance?
Do you think dropping Tuimoala Lolohea is the right call?
How confident are you that the Warriors will make the Top 8?

Let me know below.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

NRL 2016 Round 22 Review: Hayne Plane fails to fly in Warriors Victory

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The Warriors kept their playoff dreams alive with a 24-14 victory over the Gold Coast Titans.
With upcoming fixtures against the Cowboy’s and an impressive Tigers outfit, this was a much-needed win for the Warriors with the bottom half of the top 8 being so tight.

All news leading up to this match was in regards to the returning Jarryd Hayne.
After two years chasing dreams away from the NRL, Jarryd had an inconsistent return; there were glimpses of the old Jarryd Hayne but the ring rust seemed a bit too much for him to overcome and the Warriors took advantage.
Overall the Warriors played extremely well; I believe this was their second best overall performance just behind the Round 16 loss to the Sharks.

It only took six minutes for the Warriors to score via a trademark David Fusitu’a diving corner try.
The game went back and forth for the rest of the first half with the scores being level 10-10 going into half time.
The Warriors were quick out of the gate in the second half with a nice try to Simon Mannering.
From there the Titans fell apart as they threw two intercepts back to back leading to two tries to Solomona Kata with the second try being an impressive solo effort by Kata.
After Kata’s last try the Warriors had a firm grip on victory and the Titans just could not get themselves back into the game.

The Warriors improved on all fronts in this performance, the defensive line has yet again improved, the days when the Warriors let soft tries in appearing to possibly be over.
The team appears to be confident and have belief in the man beside them in the defensive line and this needs to be a constant theme on game day.
They were threatening on attack and have reduced the error rate, these are all facets of their game that they need to keep up if they want to not only reach the playoffs but have some success in the playoffs.
If the Warriors continue to play this way a lot of teams will start to look over their shoulders.

My Warrior of the day goes to Solomona Kata, in a match where he was facing a close friend in Konrad Hurrell.
He had a big task marking Konrad who has started to play like he did in his first few season at the Warriors but Solomona was completely up to the task keeping Konrad on the back foot and was always testing the line when he got his hands on the ball.
And his fend for his solo effort try was one of the best I have seen in a long time.
In the past two weeks Kata has started to return to his try-scoring ways after having a bit of a drought and with him returning to this form the Warriors have legitimate scoring threats in every position in the backline.

My Warrior who needs to improve this round again goes to no one, I just cannot pick out a player that let themselves down in this game and I hope that this is a trend that continues for the foreseeable future.
Although I do hope that the goal kicking improves this week as Tuimoala Lolohea did not have a great night with the boot.

This week the Warriors return to Mount Smart to face the Rabbitohs, even though the Rabbitohs have been a shadow of the team we have come to expect in the past few season they are still a threat.
If the Warriors can stop the likes of Sam Burgess getting easy metres up the middle and keep the defensive line speed up to reduce any chances Greg Inglis has of breaking the game open then the Warriors have a good chance of adding another win to the tally which would also make it the sixth win in a row at Mount Smart.
I’m picking the Warriors to win this match by 11-20 points, I may be slightly optimistic but I think this Warriors side is on a roll and the Rabbitohs will not be able to hold them back.

What were your thoughts on the Gold Coast match?
Do you think Jarryd Hayne is going to return to his Hayne Plane form before the season is over?
Where do you predict the Warriors to be on the Ladder at the end of Round 26?

Comment and let me know.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

NRL 2016 Round 21 Review: Warriors break Golden Point Hoodoo

Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga /
Well, it took 3 attempts but the Warriors have finally won a game in Golden Point and it came from a moment of Brilliance from Shaun Johnson.
The big assist came from Solomona Kata when he successfully stripped the ball in a one on one tackle mere moments before Shaun took advantage of a rushing Panthers defensive line to score the game-winning try in a much needed 20-16 victory.

The win moved the Warriors back into the top eight and kept their season alive.
It’s fair to say that the Warriors should have closed the game out as they were leading 16-8 late in the second half until Josh Mansour scored two tries back to back to level the game.
Both sides took turns attempting field goals unsuccessfully largely in part to both sides ignoring the marker rules and being offside taking advantage of the whistle-shy referees too scared to give penalties in Golden Point.

The Warriors improved their defensive line thanks largely to the returning Bodene Thompson and Albert Vete.
The error rate reduced and the Warriors took advantage of the chances they were given on attack.
With how tight the competition is at present the Warriors need to keep their eye on the ball as it is possible that a one-off performance could spell the end of their playoff aspirations.

My Player of the day goes to David Fusitu’a, it would be a cop out to give this to Shaun for the game-winning try but I believe that David had a strong game scoring a double and helping keep the right edge defensively tight.
Every time the Warriors give David a challenge he keeps knocking them for six, regardless of if he playing Fullback, Wing or now Centre he continues to contribute.
With Roger Tuivasa-Sheck possibly being close to a return David may have now found his permanent home in the centres which could very well be where he will find himself all next season.

My player who needs to improve….. Well, I can’t actually pick anyone that I was disappointed with, the team played well as a unit and I cannot pick anyone out for major criticism.

This week the series of must-win games continues for the Warriors as they head over to the Gold Coast to face the Titans.
The week leading up to this clash has been filled with news with calls for Golden Point to be removed, Konrad Hurrell’s first game against the Warriors and his impending clash against Solomona Kata and in perhaps the biggest news for the Titans the signing of Jarryd Hayne and the Titans decision to add him to the bench for this weekend’s matchup.
I am picking the Warriors to win this contest narrowly.

In regards to Golden Point, I’m really not swayed either way, it be an exciting part of the game when a team scores an amazing try to earn the victory but it can also a boring kick-fest.
I think one solution would be to remove Golden Point from the round robin matchups at least.

The Konrad vs Kata clash should be exciting to watch, with Konrad returning to the performances he use to give in a Warriors jersey a few seasons ago.
The move to the Titans has rejuvenated Konrad and I still think it was the best decision he could have made.
Solomona Kata will have his work cut out for him marking Konrad but I am confident that he will keep him contained.

And the lastly Jarryd Hayne is now a Gold Coast Titans.
I am surprised that the Titans were the team to nab Hayne but I guess the Titans fans can thank Daly Cherry-Evans for walking out on his deal with the club as that gave them enough money to become the top bidder.
I don’t expect much from Jarryd of the bench this week against the Warriors or for that matter the rest of this season but I think with a full preseason under his belt he could help make the Titans title contenders.

What were your thoughts on the performance against the Panthers?
Which position do you think David Fusitu’a should play for the rest of this season as well as next season?
What are your thoughts on Golden Point?
And lastly, how do you think Jarryd Hayne will perform for the Titans this weekend?

Let me know below.