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.