Thursday, September 25, 2008

Biggest game in six years - Warriors v Manly

First up for those in London - hope to see you all at Walkabout Temple branch Saturday morning for the 10.45am kickoff.

Building up to the Warriors game this week has made me reminisce about years gone by and in particular 2002. That game vs the Sharks which got the Warriors to the grand final for their first and only time to date has to be regarded as their most important win ever (close call vs recent win over the Storm).
I watched that game in NZ with my mates and it was a special game full of excitement. Highlights for me were Motu "Tony" Tony stripping the ball near the Sharks line and scoring as well as Toopi burning down the left wing for a 50m run to score in the corner. As I remember it was an extremely stormy day in West Auckland that day, I watched the game in Swanson and we had been worried all day that the weather would knock out the SkyTV at an inopportune moment. As it happened it all worked fine throughout the match and only on fulltime after the Warriors were confirmed winners did the screen go blank. It seemed fitting for the moment which felt like a miracle.

The Warriors find themselves once again on the cusp, back to their usual status as long underdogs. I always feel uncomfortable with the Warriors as favourites, in general they are too inconsistent to deserve it. But it has to be said the last 10+ games the Warriors have delivered consistency and solid defence together with insightful attacking play. The game is there to be won, the Warriors are more than capable of delivering on the dream, lets just hope Menzies and co don't spoil our party.

All the best for the weekend, its either going to be amazing, or not.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Warriors hammer Roosters

I hope I never wake up from this dream. The Warriors have beaten the Roosters and are into the semi-final vs Manly - one win away from the Grand Final vs either of the Sharks or Broncoes!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Warriors vs Roosters on Setanta

Just for the information of those Warriors fans in the UK, Setanta have now confirmed the Warriors v Roosters will be shown live at 9.30am this Friday morning. I may have to come to an arrangement with my employer to enable me to watch it. However if anyone has thoughts on bars etc that may be showing the game in London let me know. I spoke yesterday with the Walkabout (Temple branch) and as of yesterday that were not planning to open early on Friday.

Let me know what your plans are to watch the game where you are in the world. I note Dan Ham has already got his tickets to attend the match at Mt Smart. Nice work - lets hope the home fans can make it a cauldron.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Greatest Victory in Warriors history, Warriors stun Storm

Unbeleivable, the Warriors have gone and done the upset of the century, Mr F Witt with a try in the final two minutes to win it, Warriors beat the storm 18-15. I hardly know what to say, will add more when I have had more time to digest. Home semifinal next week against the Roosters, bring on the sellout.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Can you feel it?

Well the Warriors on a hiding to nothing this weekend but a part of my gut is starting to think they have a chance. These are the reasons:

1. They are spiritual brothers with the England football team - who blew out the cobwebs and the Croatians with a blockbuster 4-1 victory in Zagreb last night as massive underdogs, who knew they could deliver like this - Capello thought should be Cleary thought (you kindof little red book Mao style) - lets get a meeting of the minds between these two battlers who like nothing more than to lift a phoenix from the ashes;

2. Melbourne have some injuries, looks like they are going to play a dude only a week after knee surgery -aka the kiss of death for that poor mans leg, Warriors have full strength minus only WadeMac (AKA capitano insano (Paulos Ballos you feel me raglan style?) on a ban for spit;

3. Melbourne are just way too favoured and the Melbourne public do not give a toss; and

4. forecast is for Mt Smart style crap ass rainy cold windy weather, Warriors need to specialise in this shit. Lets face it you are not going to beat Slater in the sun on dry ground are you?

Anyway thats it for me, I am feeling it, is the Warriors massive still out there?

PS. Poll data suggest Obama is on the ropes

Monday, September 08, 2008

Warriors Storm playoffs

Congratulations to the boys on a big win away against the Eels to make it to the playoffs for only the fifth time in fourteen seasons in the NRL.

Unfortunately the reward for this impressive performance is instant death away at the minor premiership winners Melbourne Storm. Whilst a massive upset is possible and would be fantastic this has disquieting overtones of the Warriors first trip to the finals in 2001 when they met the minor premiership winning Eels away and sufferred an absolute hammering. The Eels at one point so far ahead that their coach played a man short voluntarily as part of a man-down drill. This was embaressing stuff.

The weird thing about the Warriors that we all recognise is that they could beat anyone, its just highly uncertain that they shall do so. No eighth place team has ever beaten the number 1 team in the NRL McIntyre finals system.
Everything aside I am delighted that they have qualified, a win at the Storm would put me and the club into the stratosphere. However one way or another the club have to learn how to get the team to perform in the first half of the season.
Another thought I have been having lately arises after reading recent commentary about the England football team. The key point being that the team on paper has the quality to be at the top tier of international football but that psychologically they are to fragile and uncertain to deliver. The problem is not with their football skills, it is in their heads. Does this sound familiar at all? There is money to be made if someone can crack this conundrum. How to get teams like the Warriors and the England football team into the mental state to consistently deliver their potential?

A final thought - I love the beards! Keep them for next season - we can have a whole team of mountain men by next year!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Warriors playoff hopes on Knife edge

Well its been a big week for the Warriors. I managed to watch a replay of some of their great win over the Panthers on Setanta this week. A couple of things struck me.
One was how most of the team have great beards. When did this trend emerge? I had a pretty good beard rocking for a while this year and it makes me think that unintentionally I may have been displaying my unity with the boys.

The other thing that struck me was that Wade Mac has a psycho streak. This is emphasised by the beard. I have to say I like it. The guy is clearly a quality player and his ban for alleged spitting is unfortunate, he brings an edge to the Warriors that they have been missing, he just needs to avoid the pitfalls of the sporting pyscho edge - when the red mist descends someone has to keep him in line to avoid any Rooney-esque dismissals/bans. His ban will be be over by the time next season rolls around so I am not too worried.

Anyway the game vs the Eels shapes up as a screamer with the Warriors actually favourites away despite the absence of WadeMac. I couldn't resist jumping on the bandwagon at the TAB for Warriors to win by less than 12, about the most marginal bet I have made in a while.

Knights were well beaten by Broncoes Friday night so based on my understanding of the table that means a win for the Warriors should put them at least in eighth and maybe seventh. While playoff qualification at that level is better than not making it all but its basically instant death at the hands of either of the top two in an away qualifying final. But who can complain while the season is still alive. Lets go and do it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Warriors winning run continues

What is it with the Warriors and late season runs of form the last few years? Anyway after a fine 18-4 win at home over the Sharks the Warriors are in the top eight with 26 comp points for what seems the first time this season and are starting to look plausible to actually finish in the top eight as well.

A dyabolically bad points difference (-81) means it may be harder this year than in previous years to hold that spot - i.e. 30 points may be required rather than 28. If thats the case my thinking is that two wins from the remaining three will do it. I have adjusted the countdown to oblivion accordingly.

Overall a great sporting weekend for NZ with a good ABs performance in SA, Olympic golds and the Warriors win.

Final three games are
Round 24, Sun, Aug 24 (3.00pm), DRAGONS at WIN Stadium, Wollongong (7th - 26 points)
Round 25, Sun, Aug 31 (4.00pm), PANTHERS at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland (9th - 25 points)
Round 26, Sep 5-8 EELS at Parramatta Stadium, Parramatta (13th - 22 points)

So of these three games the next two obviously take on additional importance as they likely represent chances for a 4 point swing against other top eight contenders.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

WadeMac returns and Warriors scrape past Broncoes

This could be a last game of the season squeeker at this rate.

Warriors lost away to Rabs last week (appauling) yet managed to beat the Broncoes at home thsi week benefiting from the contribution of WadeMac in his first game of the season after knee surgery has kept him out.

So in fact the Warriors retain the very real possibility of making the top eight, needing two wins from four games Sharks (h), Dragons (a), Panthers (h) and Eels (a). With Wade Mac back this looks plausible although eighth spot is of course a direct route to playing the number 1 side.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Warriors turn around

Yes I have been slack on keeping the Warriors updated but if they are going to string together wins like this you can't complain too much. Big win over the Storm at Mt Smart. I actually tried to bet on the Warriors mid week to win twelve and under but the TAB won't take bets during the NZ night, so due to the time difference the bet was rejected, as risk manager closed. I forgot to go back and put it on so anyway the Warriors did win against heavy odds and that is great.

By my calculations Warriors have now won four straight games and with 22 points need at least a further six competition points to make the top eight. So thats three wins from six remaining games. Those games are Rabbitohs(a - 14th), Broncoes (h - 5th), Sharks (h - 4th), Dragons (a - 7th), Panthers (h - 6th), Eeels (a - 13th). So presuming the boys can beat the Rabs then two further wins will be needed, no real easy games and the games vs the Drags and the Panthers are crucial as those teams will be competing for the bottem end finals spots just like the Warriors.

Once again Cleary is on the verge of pulling the rabbit from the hat but I am still left wondering why this club can't perform with this kind of consistency from day 1 instead of leaving it so late.

In other team news I not Eric Watson is on the rack at the moment with the fall of Hanover. Lets hope the Warriors don't suffer any financial consequences.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Well through the freakish pervisity of freeview Setanta coverage since their live transmission of the Warriors match today vs the Sharks carried on past midday UK time I was able to watch the final 17 minutes or so of the game live at home on my couch in my London flat. Who would have thought such an occurrence would seem remarkable?

Anyway what a 17 minutes it was - it makes me realise just what I haven't been missing. This was truly poor. Warriors going into the second half with a narrow lead 8-6 and then failing to score a point in 40 minutes and giving up what appeared to me to be three carbon copies of the same try - by way of bomb to the right wing corner. In a game this tight this was unforgivable - as was the constant turnovers and lack of cohesion or line breaks from the Warriors whilst they were in possession of the football and still in with a chance. What a pitiful mess this team is right now.
The Australian commentators seemed to delight in pointing out that the Warriors failure to pick up any points in this game likely eliminated them from playoff contention and I have a hard time arguing with that. Its now seven wins needed from eleven games to have a chance at eighth spot. Unlikely I fear.

Friday, June 13, 2008

rise the phoenix from the ashes

First up I have to admit this blog has been sliding in terms of keeping up to date. The fact is I find it hard to maintain my enthusiasm for discussing the Warriors when they are doing things like dropping points to the Rabs at home. Most recently my sporting attentions have been focussed on Euro 2008 which in the absence of England is really an exercise in enjoying football purely for the sake of the quality of the participating teams. Portugal look the real deal and the Croatia v Germany game was a fascinating contest. I have been assisted by the fact that I am off work at the moment and kick off times of 5pm and 7.45pm have made for some convenient viewing.

Getting back to the Worriers at hand, facing up to the Sharks at Toyota Park this week it seems Clearly is desperate to get this team back on track - but if he in fact knew how to do that the team would not find themselves in as dire a situation as they have now got to. Injuries haven't helped but you cannot play this competition and hope to compete at a high level by hoping for a miracle seven or eight game win streak late in the season to get you into the upper top eight. This club has got to find consistency - but in saying that this has proved elusive for thirteen years and I don't expect it to suddenly emerge now. Cleary may not in fact be the man for the job - Daniel Anderson has said he shall quit SuperLeague coaching soon and a part of me can't resist wondering whether it would be worth giving him a 2 year contract to try and rebuild this team.

Some of the quotes re Cleary's predicament in the Herald are pretty awesome - i.e. "For a coach who doesn't panic and certainly doesn't do scary, Ivan Cleary was in an ominous mood on Friday night after his side threw away a golden chance to claim consecutive wins for the first time this season". Hugh McGahan has asked in the Herald if it is time to "push the panic button" - and frankly I would say yes - push it repeatedly as fast and as many times as you can as if it is small punch and you are trying to beat Blanka with Guile with cheap tricks on street fighter II.

So Cleary has threatened major changes if things don't improve - but what changes could really be made to make a positive change? The return of Price and Tate can't hurt - but wholesale benchings on grounds of poor defense doesn't seem like it is really going to happen. Luaki seems to have been the scapegoat and has been dumped for the Sharks match this week.

Looking at the Sharkies they have managed to produce consistent results with a team that does not look stunning on paper. "Their defensive record is good, 160 points better than the Warriors who are letting in an average 30 a game while the Sharks concede around 16."

I will this week be reinstating the countdown to oblivion in the status window to the right. This is based on the assumption that to make the top eight you need a certain number of points. In recent seasons this magic number has been 28 points. The Warriors currently have 12 points so need an additional 16 points to reach the magic threshold. They have a bye in hand which is good for 2 free points so they will need 7 wins from 12 remaining games to make the top eight cut-off. We have seen this team pull a rabbit out a hat before so the time is now for them to do it again - but lets face it - this is not the way to win titles and this club again needs to go back to the drawing board for a fundamental rethink.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

First away win of the season

Finally the Warriors squeeze out a win away, scraping home against the Knights.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

crowd goes wild

Just a quick note this week as have been busy elsewhere - Penrith result is sickening. As noted in previous posts I don't mind losses but hate utter capitulation. This season is a right off unless Warriors win the next five straight games or something similar. Bring the young up and coming players in en masse now.

Anyway I am hung over to death after watching Man U squeek past Chelsea in Moscow. What an advertisement for the sport - a real thriller. State of Origin - for some reason I like Queensland - I guess it goes back to the Wally Lewis/Graham Lowe days and the 91 series (best ever) - if you are ever bored or waiting for a bus or flight try to name as many players as you can who took part in that series. Anyway NSW win game 1 and that is lame. But hey I could not give a toss at this moment Man U have gone and won the double.

Monday, May 12, 2008

NRL fatigue

Well I have realised 10 weeks into the season that my freeview Setanta subscription is insufficient for me to see any NRL live in the UK this season. The reason being that the games are played at like 7 or 8am in the morning and Setanta on freeview is closed down between 3am and midday. If I was on Sky digital or Virgin cable media Setanta plays 24 hours a day and you can watch NRL. What a mozzer.

Anyway to be brutally honest I have been ignoring league over the past couple of weeks - tests don't pique my interest like they used to. Champions league semi-finals and the last day of the premier league have been providing my sporting entertainment of late. And great results for Man U including a Scholes screamer to get them to the Champions league final in Moscow and last day heroics from Ryan Giggs to win the title have left me feeling pretty satisfied.

With that said the Warriors still are the vehicle for my unrealised hopes and dreams - the perpetual battlers fighting against the tide. Next up its the Panthers away. They have an identical win loss record to the Warriors but with a better defensive record for points conceded. However if I recall correctly the Warriors have not managed to win away yet this year - so thats a significant psychological barrier for them to break through. Panthers also coming off a big win against a depleted Dogs side so I would consider the Warriors to be heavy underdogs going into this one.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Had to have a crack at the cowboys somehow

Well I hate losing the Cowboys - they were always the junk team of the NRL - in fact we always seemed to play them late in the season to decide who would get the wooden spoon. To seem them playing at an elite level and knocking the Warriors out of the playoffs last year hurts. Although I bet the rest of the NRL feels the same way when the Warriors beat them - nights like Meli's five try demolition of the Doggies in the playoffs a few years back does help undo a lot of the pain of the Warriors dark ages. Anyway without further ado on the cowboys are objects of ridicule theme check this:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Warriors capitulate to cowboys

I can cope with losses but pathetic blowouts I really tire of. Are the Warriors going to win a game away this year? If they can't they might as well not bother. Looks to me like all the Queensland teams are at an elite level this year - the Warriors however are not.

I watched Man U play Blackburn this evening, a win would have guaranteed the prem title they scraped a 1-1 draw in the final minutes with a Tevez header. A pretty important goal and an important point leading into the crunch match vs Chelsea with a three point lead. Man U play Barca away, Chelsea away and Barca at home all in a period of 7 days starting Wednesday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Massive win over dogs - you just know that something good is going to happen

Man bring on the Vatuvei cost benefit analysis - great win over the Dogs - this is the yo yo of Warriors fandom at its best. Into the top eight. Lets shoot for a perfect home record.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Doggies and Ridge vs Wiki

Friday again thank goodness for that. Another riveting week at work flys by leading to another exciting weekend of sporting action.

Man U v Arsenal on Saturday is the big prem game of the week and with Arsenal out of the champions league at the hands of Liverpool mid-week (great game by the way shown on free to air TV here in prime time Tuesday night) this game is even more massive than usual as an Arsenal loss is basically their season over. Man U cruised past Roma and look set to have a real crack at the double .

As for the boys they face up to what will no doubt be a Doggies side desperate to redeem themselves after a Mason pounding. SBW is going to be dangerous and I have my doubts about the Warriors capacity to win this one. Lets hope they can. Only a couple more weeks till Price returns and hopefully gets the season back on track. I thinks its clear however that the Warriors are going to struggle to be top four material unless they improve significantly.

Also enjoyable this week was the minor Wiki vs Ridge spat. With Ridge, echoing comments from the hoff (does he read this blog?) and in a view I am tended to share, suggesting that Wiki was past his use by date - "Ruben quite simply can't keep up with the pace any more," Ridge told the readers of Sunday News. "It really pains me to say this, but there comes a time in a player's career when he has to sit back, take stock, and ask himself a simple question - am I still cutting the mustard?". Wiki on the other hand retorting that he was still doing his best for the club and that the "fire was still burning inside".

Notably Ridge also indicated he thought there was zero chance of the Warriors winning the title this year - fair comment and Ridge basically slams the whole squad as unfit, too big and not organised on defence. This is tough to take on two counts - one - because it is probably absolutely correct and two - Ridge was with the Warriors when they never even made the playoffs - this group of players have finished in the top four and played a home semi. So lets not fire Cleary and dump the squad wholesale just yet.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Warriors scrape past nights

Close game vs Knights at home but a win is a win. 26-20 is an ok scoreline when you are struggling. Nice start by Shortland (sleeper rookier of the year?) with two tries. A .500 record is a place to start from so the season does not get away on us but frankly the Knights are bottom of the table material. The Warriors are in desperate need of improvement in order to be able to compete at a Storm/Broncoes level.

By the way snowing in London this morning, its crazy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Knights at home

Its hard to come up with the adjectives to describe how bad the result against Manly really was. Second worst Warriors losing scoreline of all time probably says it all. To say Ivan Cleary was speechless is the understatement of the year.
I hope this is a blip and not a harbinger of the season ahead. Anderson's downfall came as a surprise after a series of strong seasons and I hope last season was the first step in a climb to the grand final rather than the crest of the Cleary wave. Losses like this lay bare the Warriors weaknesses on defense and their lack of leadership in the absence of Price and Wade Mac. Although the Herald's Chris Rattue is not that interested in the Warriors - generally I agree with the tone of this piece on the potential debacle that awaits. Not sure if I agree however that the key flaw in the Warriors set up is the lack of quality kiwis in the skill positions.

You have to hope it can get better at home this weekend against the Knights. The Knights were dire last season so the Warriors need to assert themselves and smash them at home. However it should be noted that on the table the Knights are third with a 2-1 record and a +16 points diff, whilst the Warriors are 14th with a 1-2 record and a -46 points diff. SMH power rankings for this week put the Warriors 12th (not at the bottom yet!) and the Knights 8th with the Broncoes ranked as the top team at present.

So its not going to get any easier and Cleary knows this - a win as always is vital to maintain at a minium a 0.500 record at least until Price returns to inject some fortitude into this teddy bears picnic.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ugly - its a Manly rout!

Well last time I could bear to look the score was 48-6 to Manly. This is not the type of scoreline any of us want to see and it always brings on the chills associated with the dark era of Warriors history when such scorelines were all too common.

Your thoughts on what went wrong would be appreciated.

Monday morning football - 16-0 down

Well I am following the game on a sportal text feed at work - Monday morning by the way - just went onto daylight savings so 9am feels like 8am.

And at 9.40am the score with 31 minutes played is 16-0 to Manly. This is terrible - what is going on here? This is a pretty big hole for the boys to dig themselves out of - need to score before halftime really bad.

Friday, March 28, 2008

NZ organised crime

Bit of tangent from the warriors I know but check out this article about organised crime in NZ from Christchurch (I know lame city what can I do about it).

Frankly what bothers me about this is there is so little doubt about who is running hard drug distribution in NZ. It is the headhunters at the top with the others gangs working for them nationally. I would suggest, that the government knows exactly who the top people are in these gangs. And to put it bluntly due process does not concern me. I would recommend raiding and then bulldozing their headquarters on mass at 5am nationally and then arrest all the top membership.

The only reason I can see that the perpetrators are not arrested when the police know who they are is that there is enough money involved to prevent real enforcement. If I were an officer in west auckland earning $30k and I am making $30+k on the side from being relaxed about p distribution the economics are simple. Someone needs to make a stand and its not going to be me but its needs to happen now.

My proposal is this - Bring p possession in anything above 1g up to a 2 year mandatory prison sentence. You then give all gangs 48 hours to surrender in amnesty all drug stocks and precurser stocks and surrender all guns and then you raid all the headquarters and tinny houses nationally at the same unannounced time.
We have to do it now before it is too late.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

lets go to work

Great win for the Warriors over the Eels in fine Auckland conditions. Vatuvei coping with the pressure and HiHo holding up at fullback. Price injury is a worry as is Ropati. However great to get a win - SMH is now ranking the Warriors eighth in their new power rankings (ala ESPN).

Back at work today after my easter holiday - extraordinarily lame.

Next up Manly on Monday night - maybe I shall finally be able to watch a game on my retro Setanta subscription. As noted previously this is rather like having UHF sky in the early nineties. One sports channel with not a lot on is how I would describe the service. If you like Scottish premiership football and/or 10th division football you are in for a treat.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Anyway as for the latest updates, not much has changed in Warriors land, other than that we are now only 1 week away from the kick off of Cleary Year III.

As for me it has been an eventful week and it is just going to get more interesting.

Sunday 2 March I ran the 10k at Clapham Common - it actually went quite well as I am by no means a highly trained runner. I did one of these last year and my time was five minutes faster this time around so thats a good improvement.

After that I headed straight out to Heathrow and flew out to Cairo on Sunday night for a series of work meetings on Monday and Tuesday. I had no time to partake in any tourist activities during my visit and spent almost the entire time in an office or a hotel room. However there were a few cultural moments likely being repeatedly awakened by various calls to prayer during the nighttime and the general Mr Matthew formality of the various hotel staff.

Back to London Tuesday night and this week is now just about over. I am going to stay at a cottage in the Cottswalds for the weekend for a birthday party - then back to work Monday and Tuesday before flying on Wednesday to Geneva to bus on to the ski resort at Val-d'Isere in France. Am staying there for three days and then returning to Geneva for two nights before flying onto Moscow. Will be in Russia until the end of easter.

So its pretty full on, I will be in Russia for the Warriors second and third games of the season so you will all have to keep me updated via text and email. In addition I suspect the blog may ended up lagging a bit behind.
As to the season ahead I think the expectations are up there - top eight would be the absolute minimum acceptable result. In fact if we don't make the eight I would fire Cleary. With that said top four is a reasonable goal but the absence of Wade Mac is going to hurt - fullback is such a crucial position - especially for a team such as Warriors that has perenially needed a strong player to provide solidity and leadership from the position (e.g. Ridge and Cleary). Had Wade Mac not been injured my expectations would have been at sky-high minor premiership levels.

Overall with all things considered top four and a home semi has got to be the goal, the Warriors now have the pedigree to be considered an elite NRL club and they should start acting like it.

Those of you in NZ for the Warriors game vs Eels at home on Sunday, March 23, 2008, 4pm should get along there to partake in the free Fat Freddys Drop gig which is being held at the stadium straight after the game - apparently you need to register with the Vodafone Warriors supporters club "onetribe" to go to the gig.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Warriors lose final trial to Manly

Well its been a fairly lacklustre trial campaign with the only win vs a non-NRL Auckland side, the Warriors going down on Friday night away to the Manly Sea-Eagles 24-16.

As always one can't read too much into trial results as the teams try out a lot of subs and combinations and generally don't always play to win.

There little to add other than that this was Tate's first game in a Warriors jersey and Aidan Kirk and Hohaiha split duties at fallback.

As for me - I am doing a 10k run down at Clapham Common on Sunday so that should be interesting - and immediately following that I shall be flying out to Cairo for a series of meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Hope you all have a pleasant weekend - only two weeks to go until Warriors kick off Cleary Year III vs the Storm on a Monday night.

For a guide as to the Storm's current form (and latest squad) I note that the Storm are in the UK tonight to play in the world club challenge vs Leeds Rhinos. Strangely the NRL champs typically lose this game because of the jet lag and the timeing at the begining of the new NRL season but mid-way through the British season. Its a bit of a non-event actually as far as the NRL concerns, but that does not mean I don't I long for the day when the Warriors play in this game.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Era for Hiho - or another false dawn?

Well the Warriors have strolled home in their second trial, winning 50-0 against an Auckland selection.

One of the talking points is clearly the fullback position and Cleary has opted for Hohaia to take the reins and he appears to have impressed, scoring two tries, albeit against half assed opposition who aren't at NRL level. So that is encouraging, but Hiho is a tough one to rely upon - inconsistent form is his hallmark. At his best, e.g. in his breakthrough early seasons he was unstoppable on attack and impressive on defense, a real star. However where has he been the last few years?

Several tries for players who are yet to acheive an NRL start including Kevin Locke which is a name which is started to turn up more and more. Maybe this guy can be the Warriors rookie sleeper for Cleary Year III?

Anyway the media is clearly of the view in Australia and NZ that the loss of Wade Mac seriously damages the Warriors chances this year. Check out this SMH season preview of the Warriors which has been carried by some NZ papers as well where Brad Walter generally says that "the Warriors boast perhaps the best pack in the NRL" and look improved by the addition of Tate but that the absence of Wade is a season killer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wade Mac out for the season

Well you may have heard by now that star Warriors fullback Wade McKinnon is most likely out for the 2008 season with an ACL injury. These injuries are career killers as they typically require reconstructive knee surgery to overcome. This type of surgery has a decent success rate but the recovery time is long and the chance of full recovery is not 100%.

This is pretty serious news for Cleary Year III, the Warriors do not have great cover at the fullback position. Has anyone heard of untried squad fullback options Ray Wallace, Nafe Seluini, Arden McCarthy, Kevin Locke, or Howie Matthews or will Cleary opt for a utility back like Aidan Kirk or Patrick Ah Van to plug the gap?

We all know how rudderless the Warriors looked initially upon Cleary's retirement. Bring back Brent Webb!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Warriors lose first up trial match to the Knights at North Harbour

Well the Warriors lost their trial tonight at North Harbour stadium to the Knights, 22-14, however if its any consolation its noted that the Warriors were up 14-0 whilst playing their number one side in the first half, and only fell away in the second when they made a significant number of substitutions, including giving a number of the junior Warriors a run who had already played a game as the curtain raiser that evening.

If anyone attended the game, let us know your thoughts.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tea Ropati cleared on all charges

Yes its true - not guilty on all charges.

I was thinking about the case this morning and the question that popped into my head was, would the Whiskey bar be happy about the case or unhappy? On the one hand no one could ever dream of this much free publicity, on the other hand, do people want to go and drink at a crime scene? I think I have been to the Whiskey once and it struck me as an extremely tiny but extremely trendy place where the punters did not seem overly impressed with my presence. That was over five years ago now, I have no idea what it is like these days. In fact if anyone would care to comment on the Ponsonby scene generally these days I would be interested.

The Warriors are in their midst of their now familiar brutal summer training regime, including beach runs at bethels beach, a training trip to Te Kaha on the east coast, and a cross training exercise from Takapuna beach to Rangitoto island. This is good stuff and the Warriors as always should be aiming to be the fittest as well as one of the biggest teams in the NRL. Its a fast game these days and recent years have shown that having a giant pack (forward pack that is) is not going to overcome speed, skill and intelligent play at the finesse positions.

A little over two weeks until the first preseason game vs the Knights so the wait is nearly over for Cleary Year III to kick off.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

fun and games

Hello everyone. The offseason continues. However there are a few matters to discuss, notably Tea Ropati and the NZRL coaching fiasco.

I think Tea Ropati's crimes have been public knowledge for some time however name suppression was only lifted quite recently. Its an ugly story and consensual or not - it is a bad bad look and your reputation is over dude. When your defence is premised on the basis that you, your alleged victim and your friends have been quote "binge drinking, taking cocaine and marijuana" so as to justify or excuse your deviance, the damage is done. Maybe you and Brent Todd can form a disgraced ex-players support group and hang out?
As for the NZRL if this was some form of farcical TV sitcom it might be ok - unfortunately the NZRL are not actually meant to be a joke and are supposedly managing the future of the national side and the game in NZ generally. Kemble has now gone - maybe Bennet can clean house and bring some sense to the madhouse?

Warriors trials start soon - three games in February - so not long to go now.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This is for all my peeps

I wonder if many of you are back at work today like me, finding the office dull and quiet and pondering those things that are a little more interesting on the web. This stikes me as a fine time to start stoking the fires of Warriors fandom as we zero in on NRL 2008 and Cleary Year III after an interminably long off-season.

With the addition of Tate at centre the Warriors shape up well after a strong finish to 2007, with the exception of a couple of lacklustre playoff performances. In fact after perhaps the worst alltime year for New Zealand sport, the Warriors may be the only feel good story coming out of 2007. In addition if anyone else like me, still feels slightly queesy at the thought of watching Rugby Union, the Warriors are the antidote.

The 2008 NRL draw has now been released. Those of you who live in Auckland should seriously consider becoming a Warriors season ticket member, you can see all the home games for as a little as NZD270. Warriors open the season Monday 17 March against the Storm, which could be a rude awakening, followed by the Eels on Sunday 23 March and Manly Monday 31 March. So an early opportunity to find out if you like Monday night football or not. I guess the only downside is having to wait all the way through the weekend for the game, and potentially having the team play two games in six days or less in a worst case scenario.

I have got Setanta pay TV at the flat now in London so I will be locked and loaded for Cleary Year III, finally able to watch the Warriors play live every now and again.
Please let me know your thoughts for the year ahead, discussion points include the potential starting line up, whether Hiho can ever recapture his form of 2001-2002 and how Tate will gel with the boys.
Hope you all had a great xmas and new year. Let the 2008 games begin.