Friday, June 23, 2006
Rabbitohs staring down the barrell
Well my work week continues to cause me suffering however for those of you in the NZ/AUS timezone such thoughts are already well out of your mind as you enjoy your Friday drinks.
Anyway first of all let me have a couple of rants - the first is Lowe and the NZ rugby league media - in particular the Herald. If the Warriors lose the Herald just ignores them however if they win or even win two in a row the Herald gets all congratulatory and showers them with praise and coverage. Lowe thinks Cleary is some sort of genius now that he has stopped "tinkering" with team and has them running like a finely tuned vehicle in some sort of "my past life as a humble mechanic analogy" - lose the ghastly analogies dude you are a bandwagon jumper of the worst kind. The fishing analogy really got me going and this greyhound one pushed me to the edge of the windowsill.
My second rant is about the Webb salary cap saga - the Webb situation is demonstrative of a real Warriors problem that needs to be addressed. Webb is in some ways the ideal Warriors player - bought cheap and young while unknown - has a brain - and has delivered on his potential with quality performances well above his pay packet.
Unfortunately now that he is an established star the Warriors don't have the cap space to keep him because we are massively overpaying our superstar forward pack. I know Price and Wiki lay the platform and without them this team would likely be swinging in the wind but the management have really got themselves tied in a knot with the Price/Wiki massive salaries. This stuff needs to be planned for in advance you can't get into a win now lose later situation. The cap space to re-sign Webb should have been in the minds of management as soon as he became an established Warriors starter. Its difficult because UK superleague pays so much more but if we lose this guy at the crucial fullback position we are in real trouble. I recall how rudderless the Warriors looked for a while there at fullback after Cleary's departure as player - can we really face another phase like that while we find a decent Webb-Cleary style replacement?
I have been trying to do the math as to the Warriors cap situation and it is really hard as there is no public record of what anyone is getting paid so I have to guess - for example Webb seems to be expecting a contract well in excess of NZ$250k - what do you guess guys like Vatuvei and Mannering actually get paid - NZ$100-$150k? Cleary says the club are in a "development" phase and I like the sound of that but I don't know how you justify the price of the forward pack if this is really the strategy - maybe it is a case of "past management" having limited the options available.
On a bright note Warriors have secured the services of a pair of HUGE brothers from the Manawatu, - Russell Packer (16), a New Zealand Under-16 representative last year, is a 188cm 112kg prop, and Paora (18) is a 187cm 95kg second rower. Just read back over that sentence - Russel Packer is 112kg at age 16. That is a gigantic young man.
Rabs seem to also be on a spending and recruitment spree at present and the Crowe takover is in some ways reminsicent of the change in attitude and form that accompanied the Watson takeover at the Warriors. Dare I suggest the Rabs may be going places. Warriors need to keep an eye on this team this weekend as nothing less than a crushing victory will keep me and the seething masses satisfied.