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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

NZ Warriors Round 26 Review: Disaster season over after ninth straight defeat

Copyright Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
After collapsing in their last home match, the Warriors made the trip to Leichhardt Oval to face the Wests Tigers in their final game of 2017.
After 8 losses on the trot, the Warriors were looking at breaking the losing streak and getting only their second away win of the year, but it was not to be as the Warriors succumbed to the Tigers losing 28-16.

The Tigers looked set to send their departing players off in style and targeted the Warriors weak edge defense and were close to scoring in the early stages through Jack Littlejohn only for the Warriors to desperately stop him within inches of the line.
This only delayed the inevitable as Kevin Naiqama latched onto a Luke Brooks kick to cross for the first try on the night.
The Warriors were reduced to a two man bench after injuries to Blake Ayshford, and Charlie Gubb saw them sit out the remainder of the game.
Both sides had tries disallowed before the Tigers struck again after former Warrior Tui Lolohea put Esan Marsters over with a nicely timed pass.
Lolohea made his presence felt again minutes later after completing a length of the field after James Tedesco made easy work of the Warriors scrambling defense.
The Warriors finally got themselves on the board with Solomone Kata crashing over from dummy half to end the half behind 16-6.

The second half started just like the first with Luke Brooks putting Kevin Naiqama over for his second try of the match.
The Warriors pulled off an excellent set move when Ryan Hoffman through a beautiful inside pass to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Any chances of a miraculous Warriors comeback were well and truly over after David Nofoaluma scored the Tigers last try of the night with 6 minutes left to go.
The Warriors scored the final try of the night when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad finished of a nice team try, but it was too little too late as the Warriors went down 28-16 in their ninth loss in a row.

Copyright Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
My Warrior of the match goes to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
In what has been a horrible season for everyone at the club Roger has been one of only a few Warriors players to perform at a consistent level.
Once again he lead the Warriors in metres gained not to mention he got 1 of the 3 Warriors line breaks as well as 1 of the Warriors 3 tries.
It has been a tough year for the Warriors Captain, and hopefully, he has learnt from this season help try and rebuild this team in 2018.

Copyright Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
My Warrior who needs to improve goes to Ata Hingano.
There could have been many players to choose from in this category, but I have to give it to Ata.
The Tigers used Ata as a speed bump resulting in 6 missed tackles, his kicks were misguided, and he appeared lost at times, but the Warriors wouldn't have been any better had Kieran Foran taken his place.
Ata is still young, and there is talent there and playing along side Shaun Johnson should hopefully bring the best out in him.
But then again the Warriors don't have the best track record of developing talent recently.

I had high hopes for this match, and last week I predicted a Warriors win but the moment I heard Shaun Johnson had been ruled out I knew the Warriors didn't have it in them to overcome the Tigers.
Having only two players on their bench for 70 minutes was always going to be a tough ask, but thankfully Stephen Kearney's bizarre interchange selections worked this time with Charnze sitting there ready to go.
The Warriors improved their penalty count but missing 40 tackles and making 10 unforced errors made getting the win here a hard task.
Letting the Tigers get up to a 3 try lead did not help matters, and by the time Kata scored the Warriors first try the game was already over.
Once again the Warriors had a high completion rate at 86%, but they still couldn't put together any offense and no matter how good your completion rate is it really means nothing if you can't convert it into points.

So the season is finally over, 9 losses in a row to end it is really not how I saw 2017 turning out when I wrote my season preview in February.
Typically after the Warriors fail to make the playoffs, i get angry or upset, but I feel like an old parent who is not angry just disappointed.
Rumours are floating that the Warriors have signed Adam Blair and Gerard Beale for next season if this is accurate time will no doubt tell.
I was baulking at the idea of signing Adam Blair but to be brutally honest the Warriors need forwards, and if Blair is the only decent option out there after James Graham signed with the Dragons, then I would rather have him than rely on the current props the Warriors have.
Gerard Beale is an interesting possible signing as the Warriors already have enough players in the backs department, but I would be happy for Beale to replace Kata in the back line.

2017 has been brutal to watch and to write about and im actually looking forward to having some time away from the Warriors.
I still have my season review to produce which will not be enjoyable, but it will at least close this season for me once and for all.

So that was a terrible Round 26 and 2017 season, and per usual I will leave you with some questions.

What are your thoughts on the two possible signings?
Do you see any significant changes coming from the clubs end of year review?
Who was your player of the year?
Who was your biggest disappointment of the year?