Thursday, July 15, 2010

Returning Troops a mixed blessing

Tate, Hohaia, Seymour and Locke are all fit to play against the Storm Saturday night. This is good news but is almost a disaster because they have to shift Ropati out of fullback and Brown back in to the second row when they have both played so well at fullback and centre respectively. Moon, Tupou (hand injury) and John (knee injury) dropped.

Sad to see Isaac John lost for the season as he has been something of a revelation but its great to have the experience of Seymour back in the side to partner Maloney.

The return of Tate, Locke and Hohaia I am just not sure about. Yes they are all quality experienced starters but we have to weigh that against the disruption to what has been a winning unit caused by their return. Cleary knows what he is doing however and there were some tired players after last weeks heroics so we have to bank that the freshness of the returning senior players can galvanise the side to lift against what will be a very challenging Storm side.

Am looking forward to the Storm game Saturday where I will be joining the Wellington Warrior at Mt Smart once more. My only worry is that the TAB has placed the Warriors as favourites for this match. That is never a good sign. Particularly when this is a full strength Storm side who smashed us last time we played them. We have to hope that pyshologically the Storm just aren't up for this game which will be played in the cold and wet at Mt Smart (forecast is rain for game time again).

I would say right now Maloney and Lewis Brown are battling for Warriors player of the year honours.

In transfer news it looks like Matai is keen to join the Warriors for next season so that should give us even more depth.

Everything is looking bright for the Warriors. Only problem is that it is at times like these that the wheels have in the past come off. Lets hope thats not the case this week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Awesome defensive win

Well that was a big time win for the Warriors. With the ref putting them under seemingly endless repeat sets in their own red zone for the entire second half they managed to keep Penrith out. Nice work and its one win closer to the playoffs. With this kind of form we can start thinking about finishing in the top 6.

This setup with Brown in the centres and Ropati at the back is producing some great performances and some big wins. Isaac John looks like he may have a knee injury which should hopefully be covered by Seymour's return. As for Hohaia, I don't know if he is a starter right now, even if fit.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Great trio of wins for the Warriors now the run home

So three nice wins in a row for the Warriors. The most recent an awesome performance smashing of the Eels at Mt Smart in the pouring rain. I was there to watch and although I really like the view from the lower eastern its not much fun to sit in the continuous rain and cold for three hours.

I like Lewis Brown in the centres. I think he is a good option there to produce line breaks with his speed and power. He can also rotate into the middle for hit ups when required. There is alot of interchangeability developing in the squad. Born out of necessity due to the horrible run of injuries the team has suffered. When will Seymour return?

Anyway the Herald is pegging 30 pts as the cut off for the playoffs. I tend to think with the Storm out of the equation 28 points would be enough. Mid round we sit on 20 points. So either way we need 4 or 5 games out a remaining nine. Looking back on my earlier post 12 games out about the run home we have managed to win all three of our games so far. Nice. So the remaining games look like this:

Round 18 - Panthers - 2nd - (a)
Round 19 - Storm - 16th (=about 4th) -(h)
Round 20 - Rabbitohs - 7th - (a)
Round 21 - Titans - 5th - (h)
Round 22 - Sharks - 14th - (a)
Round 23 - Knights - 12th - (h)
Round 24 - Sea Eagles - 6th - (a)
Round 25 - Broncoes - 8th- (h)
Round 26 - Eels - 11th - (a)
This is looking feasible. We only have to win half or just over half our games. Sharks, Knights and Eels should be automatic wins if we are half way serious about a playoff run and can maintain consistency in our form with players returning from injury to inject some added firepower.

So thats leaves us looking for one or two more wins to lock in the playoffs. Today would be a great game if we could pick up a win it would put us into really serious contention. However its likely no more than a 50/50 proposition at best. I do think we can win two out of our four games v the Rabs, Titans, Sea Eagles and Broncoes. Any two will do.

I think the great thing about this years comp for the Warriors is none of the teams look that scary. The Storm on their day are terminators, but we don't have to worry about them this year. So that leaves what to my mind are marginal contenders in the likes of the Dragons, Panthers and Sea Eagles. If our squad was fit I think we are good enough to join a top four with those three teams. Other teams have had their moments, in particular Souths and the Tigers but none have really established consistency. This is the time of the season to do it and without wanting to get too excited if we play our cards right we could be this seasons Eels.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Warriors Bye - Great week for the All Whites

Well no Warriors this week. Great week for the All Whites drawing with Slovakia. England are not going to get out of their group they are so bad. And the Lakers won the NBA title. Again. However one thing I do like about the Lakers is Ron Artest. You have to love that psycho. Check out his post game press conference. Bro nice work to thank your psychiatrist in your postgame interview.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Great win for the Warriors after tight game in Newcastle

Nice work on the win tonight. Warriors squeaking home 32-24 over the Knights in Newcastle. Maloney, Vatuvei and Moon all putting in strong performances. Maloney kicked six from six goals which is sweet. However without wanting to cut him down unnecessarily many of those shots were from straight out in front.

Some shocking errors and ghastly defensive lapses made this game alot closer than it needed to be. Locke is turning into a major defensive liability. With that said the Knights looked good on attack on the wing but pretty poor throughout most other facets of the game.

Andrew Johns - OMG- how many PR howlers can the Johns brothers generate in one lifetime? These guys are a shocker on so many levels. How do you reconcile Joeys talent for the game with his drug abuse and racism? Its not a good look for a game under pressure when one of the arguably greatest players ever and a massive media star has so little perception of how to behave in a public setting. Origin is intensively competitive but lets retain some self respect people.

This win basically keeps the Warriors alive in the competition. A bye this week and then they need six wins from eleven remaining games - starting with the Roosters in Christchurch. This is a nominal away game so lets hope the Cantabs can turn on a good home crowd atmosphere for the Warriors.

Am looking forward to the first of the All Whites games this week - should be alot of fun. As for England v USA - a good game to watch but England looking typically subdued and vulnerable. They have the talent - they just don't know how to combine it to deliver strong performances consistently. Capello is a great coach so I am hopeful of improvement. As for Robert Green - his name will live in infamy after one of the worst goal keeping errors of all time in a World Cup match.

Oh and cheers for the candid Queensland origin squad photos Ali - keep up the good work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bros Icing Bros

I don't much like Smirnoff Ice, but I do like this game. Nice post on the NY times about it here. I want to see more of this in Auckland.

As for Warriors v Knights- I think its pretty even match up but the TAB has the boys as long dogs. Guess its the second string halves combination and the absence of Tate. However the Warriors need the win pretty bad.

Its hard to retain focus on the NRL with the World Cup kicking off this weekend but more sport is good.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Second half of the season

Good game vs St George in dire rainy conditions. A really strong effort from the boys but just too much dropped ball against a pretty classy side. Pity about the result and a pity about Tate's jaw putting him out for the season. So we face the remainder of the season, and next season, without Tate and Price.

Vatuvei came through the game fit and Mannering is fit and solid. So this is good news. Isaac John put in a good performance and Seymour will be fit and back in the side eventually. I am banking on Seymour returning in time for the Warriors v Eels on 4 July (round 17) - when I will be in attendance at Mt Smart once again. Lets hope the weather is a bit better then.

Before then we have to face the Knights away next up (rnd 14) followed by a bye week (round 15) and then the Roosters away (round 16). Right now we sit 11th - 2pts outside the eight with one game left in the round).

So with only 12 games left to play - lets have a quick look ahead to the countdown to oblivion. I estimate that with the storm out of the picture this year we need only at least 28 points to make the playoffs. Right now we have 12 points with a bye in hand - so that will give us 14 points. So we need a further 14 points, or seven wins at least out of our last 12 games - to make the playoffs.

Our run home looks like this (table positions are as of right now with one game left in the round):

Round 14 - Knights - 12th - (a)
Round 15 - bye
Round 16 - Roosters - 9th - (a)
Round 17 - Eels - 8th - (h)
Round 18 - Panthers - 2nd - (a)
Round 19 - Storm - 16th (=1st) -(h)
Round 20 - Rabbitohs - 6th - (a)
Round 21 - Titans - 5th - (h)
Round 22 - Sharks - 13th - (a)
Round 23 - Knights - 12th - (h)
Round 24 - Sea Eagles - 3rd - (a)
Round 25 - Broncoes - 7th- (h)
Round 26 - Eels - 8th - (a)

So of all these teams only the Knights and Sharks are placed lower than us in the table. Fortunately we get to play the Knights twice. So we have to beat them both times to stand a chance. We also likely have to beat the Roosters so we need our next two games to be wins.

So lets say we can beat the Knights twice, and get wins against the Sharks and Roosters, thats four wins in hand - we need to find three more - looks tough as we have to play the improving Eels twice as well as the 2nd place Panthers, the 3rd place Sea Eagles, 5th place Titans and the Storm, again.

I would say Broncoes and Rabbits are winnable - so that means we need at least one more win and Titans at home is where I am going to hang my hat. Although splitting our games with the Eels would also help.