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.

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