Friday, April 27, 2007

Action stations

Well a couple of games coming up tonight - Dogs v Tigers and Broncoes v Storm. The grand final replay should be a good game - if theres any change to the Warriors table position after these results I will update the status report in the upper right hand corner of the blog - although only a Dogs win should have any effect.

Cleary has noted that the Warriors have not won away this year yet (losses to Manly and the Storm)- and he is not happy about it - wants to improve the away form of the boys this week against the Rabs. Frankly I can see the Warriors losing this week but at least they could then say as an excuse that they have lost to the three best teams in the NRL away?

And does anyone apart from me think its bizarre that the premier league feeder club of the South Sydney Rabbitohs these days is the North Sydney Bears - isn't something about that just geographically wrong? Its a sad story for the Bears though - to go from being an NRL franchise in their own right to being a joint partner in the Northern Eagles - to being a premier league feeder to the Rabbitohs - ouch - bet the old Norths boys don't like that much. Or maybe its all part of a Jason Taylor (Norths 1994-99) master plan now that he coachs the Rabs? Anyway the Warriors feeder side Auckland Lions play the Bears this weekend - it looks to be a pretty strong Bears side featuring former Penrith grand final winner Joe Galuvao.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Super Rabs

To touch quickly on the two big sporting matches mentioned in my previous post - obviously the collapse of the Black Caps when it really mattered was a big disaster - but then again making the semis was likely all anyone expected anyway? Or is that the problem - even the team thought their tournament was unlikely to continue beyond the semis? Fleming gone as captain - should only be picked in the team on form in future.

As for Man U those of you lucky enough to watch the game against AC Milan witnessed one of the most spectacular and entertaining matches in recent memory - Man U up 1-0 early on only for Milan to come back to lead 2-1 after Kaka scored twice in the first half - only for Rooney to score twice in the second half including an injury time 91st minute screamer for Man U to win 3-2. Stunning sporting entertainment. Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 in their leg 1 semi but the differences in the scorelines typifies the differences in the teams - Chelsea are a boring team and tough to watch.

Anyway on the subject of the Rabbitohs they are clearly enjoying a revival after a complete offseason revival and the forwards matchup of the incumbent Kiwi captain vs ex captain Wiki looks to be a good one. TAB have Warriors as favourites but I note the Sydney morning herald "expert" tipping panel is unanimously picking the Rabs. Should be a good match - enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The latest

A big day in world sports today - NZ v Sri Lanka to play in the first world cup cricket semi-final - as of writing that game is due to start in less than 1 hour. And tonight at 7.45pm UK time Manchester United will play the home leg of their Champions League semi final vs AC Milan. Both massive games!

Following on from the post below it turns out that Walker has been spared the axe by the Titans on the condition that he go into rehab for eight weeks during which time he will not play first grade NRL.

Warriors news - this week we look forward to a big round 6 match up against the red hot - beleive it or not - Rabbitohs. I am unlikely to be able to post any Watership down material this time - I recall that in the most recent matchup between these teams the Warriors won 66-0.

Anyway Witt's contract has been extended for two years after his impressive play filling in for the long term injured Jerome Ropati (who has recently played his first game back in Bartercard - scoring a try for the Auckland Lions) and Cleary has named his team to play this weekend including a return of Gatis to the bench. Looks promising. Jerome is play another week in Bartercard and will be joined by fullback recruit Aidan Kirk who is also returning from long term injury.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Possible brain explosion candidate?

I quite like this story about recurring offender Chris Walker getting tossed from a nightclub over Easter and subsequently on the verge of being axed by the Titans. It's since been revealed Walker is suffering from a 'psychological condition', which is exacerbated by alcohol use." The Daily Telegraph in Australia has the scoop that the Titans won't fire Walker after revelations that Walker has "alcohol dependency, brought on by anxiety". Seems to be some confusion here - whether the alcohol causes the mental problem or the mental problem causes the drinking.

Genuine mental illness aside alot of problem drinkers have this condition - that is - can't control their drinking or their behaviour once they are drunk. Without wanting to cast the first stone, this mental illness ploy is PR BS as far as I am concerned. Walker would be better off to be contrite, admit a drinking problem in a public statement and then go to AA.

The Titans were considered the last stop for Walker, who has acrimoniously split with Brisbane, Sydney Roosters, South Sydney and Melbourne during a chequered career. His most infamous brain explosion was in May 2004 when he was charged with assaulting police outside Brisbane's casino during an Origin camp and dumped from the Queensland squad.

Who would win in a Sione v Walker drinking face off?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Brain Explosion drought?

Well theres a long way to go but this years NRL seems to have been marked by a high degree of focus on quality football and little or no scandal or brain explosion drama. SBW had a drunken encounter with a female triathlete in a toilet (pictured at right) but his girlfriend is standing by him and Mason's brain exploded permanently a long long time ago but nothing has really tipped the scales sufficiently to qualify for the brain explosion 2007 prize. If anyone has further suggestions just let me know as this state of affairs is far to fragile to continue indefinitely.

I had also missed this story re the Warriors being "cashed up" and looking to spend up to $400k on a new player in 2008. Apparently the depature of stars (like Webb) and the strong kiwi dollar mean the Warriors will have money to spend - but it still may not be enough to attract a star quality centre. The story also notes that the Warriors are likely to re-sign around two-thirds of the nine players who come off contract this season. Seven of those players are wings Todd Byrne and Cooper Vuna, centre Tony Martin, utility Lance Hohaia, standoff Michael Witt, hooker George Gatis and second-rower Logan Swann.

Monday, April 16, 2007

ANZAC test bye week - Taking Stock

ANZAC test this week so a bye for the Warriors - I have to say I am becoming ambivalent about one off league internationals and would be interested in your thoughts on the kiwis chances this week.

As for the Warriors, those that aren't involved in the test will have a week off to train and relax. As will all the other NRL sides whose players aren't in the test - as such the test bye is by no means a true bye for the Warriors as they typically have a large number of players contributing to the kiwi side together with Price in the Australian pack. This year only Price, Mannering, Rapira, Tuimavave, and Vatuvei have been named in the respective squad lists - accordingly there will be a significant portion of the Warriors squad able to rest and heal any lingering injury worries.

With that said lets take a look at the post-bye run of ten games that the Warriors have (with the current table position of the opponent teams):

Round 7 - Rabbitohs (A) - 5th
Round 8 - Sharks (H) - 9th
Round 9 - Knights (A) - 8th
Round 10- Tigers (H) - 14th
Origin 1 - midweek
Round 11 - Eels (A) - 6th
Round 12 - Dogs (H) - 10th
Round 13 - Storm (H) - 2nd
Origin 2 - midweek
Round 14 - Sharks (A) - 9th
Round 15 - Panthers (H) - 11th
Round 16 - Titans (A) - 7th
Origin 3 - midweek

If we divide these games into three blocks - between each Origin match - of the first block I think Cleary should be aiming to win at least three of these four games with (perversely) the Rabbitohs away likely to be the toughest of these games, although Asotasi and Fa'alogo are both named in the kiwi test squad. Post Origin 1 I would suggest the Eels away should be a close win with Dogs and Storm at home both tough games - but the Warriors should be looking to make the most of their home ground advantage (100% this year) and win these as well. Post Origin 2 the Sharks, Panthers and Titans are also all winnable games. There is usually some benefit to the Warriors in the pre and post Origin matches as the NSW and Queensland players stand down in the round before Origin and have to back up for their clubs the following week so hopefully that should soften up in particular the Storm (Slater standing down?) in round 13.

However I don't really expect the Warriors to win all ten or even nine of these games, I think six or seven is a realistic target and will go a long way to guaranteeing a playoff berth. I am ready to lose to the Rabs, the Storm and maybe the Eels or Titans or splitting the two games with the Sharks. All the others I will be looking for wins - however we need to prove we can win away from home this season and a whipping of the Rabs and Knights would be a good way to get the monkey off the players backs.

Enjoy the ANZAC test this week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Warriors blast Cowboys

Great win for the boys this week managing to hammer the Cowboys at home 34-14. Sounds like a close contest up until the end when the Warriors ran amok. Good to see and with the ANZAC test break coming up lets hope the team can continue to consolidate a solid fourth table position after the bye.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Well before I return to normal un-interupted Warriors coverage I thought I would post a couple of pics from my trip to watch Man U thrash Roma 7-1. Just two pics for you - one is a picture of the police maintaining a cordon between the incoming Man U fans and the Roma fans queing to get in at the back of the photo. Apparently this is where most of the trouble was as the Roma fans were a stationary target for psycho fans to attack. The other picture is the end of the match with the scoreline clearly visable in the top left corner.

FA Cup semi final today Man U beat Watford 4-1, Chelsea play Blackburn for the other final spot of Sunday afternoon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Reversal of Form

I don't think I can adequately sum up the experience of attending Old Trafford to watch Man U demolish AS Roma 7-1. I will post some pics but they will not capture the atmostphere provided by the rabid united fans chanting "are you City in disguise", "you can stick you f****n Ultras up your ass", "Totti, Totti whats the score", "he plays on left, he plays on the right, our boy Ronaldo, makes England look shite", "theres only one Ronaldo" and the long time classic "who are ya, who are ya" over and over again. The alleged rioting was over by the time we arrived outside the stadium but there was tension in the air and alot of heavily armed riot police, police dogs and mounted riot police.

Am looking forward to an improved Warriors performance this week - a couple of key injuries in the Cowboys should soften them up. However this Cowboys side has very talented backs and the Warriors will need to keep them in check. Also new high scoring recruit Crocket will be absent and will be replaced by Bones Byrnes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

America's Cup Valencia

Well we took our chance to check out the AC village in Valencia over Easter and my general impression was that its more spread out than the Auckland setup and perhaps less vistor friendly. Not the same viaduct basin lineup of bars and restaurants. The place gave an impression that it was slightly unfinished - however this may be just the retrospective impression given by the completed Auckland village after hosting twice - I don't have a clear memory of what it was like on day 1 of the 1st defense. There was also heavy security in Valencia with metal detector doorways like the airport to enter and exit the village. This did not deter the local peeps who on Easter Monday in particular were visiting the base in their thousands. Pictures are 1) a shot of peeps queing at the security gates to get into the village, 2) as close as we got to the Team NZ base, and 3)the Alinghi base and boat.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Easter has produced a string of dissappointing sports results, headlining with the Warriors going down in a narrow loss to Manly. Warriors are now 2-2, hanging onto eighth place in the table by a thread. However all the way to fifth is on points difference alone. The boys need to get a result vs the Cowboys at home this week, if they drop another consecutive game their season is on a slippery slope and they may well find themselves once again out of the top eight. Your thoughts on this weeks game would be appreciated. Sounds like an improved defensive effort - although not enough to get the win.

While we were away in Valencia (full America's cup village report in next post) Man U also managed to lose whilst Chelsea won. Chelsea now only trails Man U by three points - Man U vs Chelsea on May 9th is shaping to be a title deciding match.

In addition Champions League quarter final second leg games are on this week with Rome playing Man U at Old Trafford (I will be in attendance) bringing a 2-1 aggregate lead and a wave of bad press after the ugly scenes of fan and police violence - (watch the video on this link) during leg one in Rome with 11 Man U fans hospitalised. I will try and steer clear.

Had a great time in Valencia - not as hot or sunny as anticipated but good fun none the less. Am travelling to Manchester via Leeds tomorrow. Champions League Kick off is at 19.45 GMT.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Warriors playoff plan

In light of the bubble bursting on my dreams of the Warriors riding through the season on top of the table I have decided to revert to the tried and true state of perpetual worry and paranoia with my new dream the hope that the Warriors can be a certainty to make the top eight. Yes thats right - I am re-evaluating my expectations - making the playoffs is the first goal.

Last season there were 24 rounds of games and two byes for each team. So a total of 52 points were available. The eighth place Eels got 28 points. In 2007 there are 25 rounds and only one bye but still a total of 52 points available so probably 28 points should again be enough to make the eight. However to be sure lets say the Worriors need 30 points to be certain.

The Warriors have a bye in round 6 (21-23 April) for the Anzac test - so thats two points guaranteed plus they have won two of their first three games, so thats six points in the bag. Now they just need to go and get the other 24 points - 12 more wins from 22 remaining games. I have updated the status table in the right hand corner of the blog to indicate the wins needed for top eight certainty vs games remaining to be played. This will be a countdown throughout the season - if the Warriors are good enough this should not be a nail biter or an exercise in mathematical possibility, this should be a state of affairs where around round 20 we can safely say the Warriors are in the playoffs - go out and get it boys.

Tough game this weekend away - Manly have been on the up for a few years now - and these guys have produced some good results this year, in round 1 producing a 32-6 win over the Canberra Raiders, in round 2 beating the Tigers 19-8, and in round 3 delivering a 30-8 win against the Roosters to remain unbeaten. Cleary has opted to start Fien at hooker this week and lets hope this injects some renewed confidence and structure into the team. Key tip at this weeks training - try not to drop the ball, particularly in your own half. Overall I think the loss vs the Storm may have been good to cool the expectations and bring these players back to earth but they need to put on a performance this week.

We are headed to Valencia on Thursday for the Easter long weekend - will go and have a look at the Team NZ base and America's Cup Village and post some pics on the blog next week.

And finally on a non-sporting topic - lets hope for all our sakes that the 15 British navy personel get released soon.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Isn't this inappropriate? Its appropriate enough.

Well the Warriors got pasted by the Storm. So maybe I have been getting all excited over nothing. First away game of the season and it is a bath. Too many errors - giving the Storm too much quality field position. Next week top of the table Manly at their home ground, Brookvale Oval, it does not fill me with confidence.

Warriors are clinging to 6th in the table, luckily the Raiders somehow obliterated the Knights to avoid any chance of the Warriors dropping into 7th this round. Anyway your thoughts on the Warriors shocking turn in form would be appreciated.

On a more positive note any thoughts on this suggestion that Eric is considering making an offer to buy Mt Smart outright (rather than leasing it from the ARC). All sounds very NBA to me - would be a good way to improve the chances of making the Warriors profitable - and could see further improvements to the ground. This post also suggests Watson could make shares in the club/ground available to fans. All sounds good to me - but its absolute crap.
Big news of the evening is the UK following France in pulling out of the "HeinekenCup" european interclub comp - its like the Champions league for rugby - frankly these rugby nations don't know whats good for them. I look forward to seeing the All Blacks run all over them in September, provided that they are not all in a hospital ward by them.