Sunday, December 27, 2009

I remember the best days of the Warriors, do you?

Who should the warriors sign?

Just had a great afternoon out at Piha. Its great to back in NZ. The weather over this xmas week has blown me away. This country has a lot going for it and the outdoors is a jewel in the crown that cannot be ignored.

As for the team, God knows who the Warriors should sign this offseason. They have the cap room to make a major move but should they go big now or wait till next offseason?

These are big questions with no clear answers right now. Paramatta clearly have a problemo and its name is Jared Hayne, too much talent located in one player wins games but eats salary cap space.

So we are talking about relatively big name Eels stalwarts like Luke Burt being on the trading block not to mention lower tier Eels players who are flying under the rader such as Krisnan Inu, who looks like a utility back of the future.

Development of Locke this year will be a an interesting thing to look forward to. Wade Mac will have to produce or will face an ignominious exit.

And if the xmas season has jaded you right out just sit back relax and listen to this.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Its Always Sunny at Mt Smart

Why do the Warriors always turn on their veteran players? The latest saga sees Steve Price dropped as captain for vague and uncertain reasons. Now we have a host of rumours, that he has fallen out with and lost the respect of the rest of the squad, that the management want him to quit rep football but he refuses, and that he is seeking an early release to join the Broncoes on a one year deal.

Steve Price himself coming out today and denying all the rumours but again
voicing openly the tension between himself and the club over the demotion and the representative football issue.

My favourite quote about the various other rumours being "There have been plenty of [other wholly untrue] things that have been much more difficult to deal with," he says. "When you hear that you're gay, you've moved out on your wife and are living with your lover, that you're a rapist ... I don't look at them as challenges but things that make you able to adapt and understand things a lot better. At the end of the day, not everything goes your way."

Why Why why do the Warriors always do this? The unceremonious dumping of ageing stars is so poorly managed. We all know these guys cannot play forever but why treat you one of your most talented players with so little respect. The rep footy issue is a problem - Price will never be available for a full season - even without rep footy his body won't deliver 26 rounds plus playoffs.

There is turmoil here behind the scenes and the Warriors need to clean house. The tone of the Price interview has him talking about guys in the squad being "weak" and "gutless" for talking about him behind his back. Who is he referring to? This is the kiss of death for team bonding.

This kind of internal dissension can destroy a team quickly so the management need to decide, do they really still want Price? If so they need to back him publicly and reprimand and punish those who are bad mouthing him or failing to support him within the squad. If they don't want Price, release him and move on. One way or the other I don't care but what I cannot stand is going into a new season with open dissension, a lack of clarity on the issue and no clear public statements from Cleary or anyone else in the management. Lets get this all out in the open now before we lose another season down the tubes.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Hello all

I am travelling for a few months and no doubt the blog will end up way out of date. I checked up on the Warriors in an internet cafe in Italy just now and I see they lost to the Dragons and their season is slipping into oblivion so we will have to hope for better next year.

The herald seems to have done a countdown to oblivionb calculation all their own and have concluded that the point of no return has been reached with the boys needing to win all their remaining six games for a mathematical shot at the playoffs.This seems unlikely. See you in a few months.

The run home

Saturday: v Panthers (a)

Aug 9: v Titans (h)

Aug 15: v Eels (a)

Aug 23: v Raiders (h)

Aug 28-31: v Bulldogs (a)

Sept 4-6: v Storm (h)

Maximum points possible: 29

Warriors 13th on 17 points

Sitting eighth (bottom playoff spot): Cowboys 22 points

Saturday, June 20, 2009

All Whites v Iraq

No Warriors this weekend so all my hopes are on the All Whites squeeking out a pride win over Iraq in the confederations cup in SA. Unlikely maybe (All Whites are paying NZ$9 to win) but vaguely possible. Its also now clear that the dream matchup vs North Korea will not happen for the All Whites in their World Cup qualifiers, instead it will be home and away against the winner of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Iraq have in recent seasons been much more successful than either of these teams - but NZ need to prove they can last against these kind of teams. Even nil all would be a good result against Iraq.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another win another week

Nice win for the boys. Although winning ugly at home is not that nice really. A win is a win and I cannot complain but you need to be able to beat top sides with quality which is evidently not what the Warriors have at present.

Still I guess I should not be too bitchy when the season is still alive and Locke is shaping as a prospect. He, Hohaia, MCK and Mannering are the bedrock of this side and they need to hang on until Tate returns. Price is a god but will leave us all soon.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Countdown to Oblivion

Well first up terrible lost to the Sharks leaves the Warriors playoff hopes hanging by a thread. Second if you have not yet watched the Pepe Silvia video below, do so now before the really depressing reality of the Warriors season sets in. Third and on an upbeat note I am loving the prospect of the All Whites having to play North Korea for a shot at world cup qualification. Frankly if the All Whites go to the 2010 football World Cup this blog (in content at least) may temporarily become an All Whites World Cup supporters blog.

Now back to the ugly reality of the Warriors season. At the halfway stage - the Warriors have played twelve games and had one bye. They have won four games (8 pts), had one draw (1 pt) and had one bye (2 pts) for a total of 11 pts. To make the top eight they need a minimum of 28 pts. So they are 17 big points short of the promised land at this stage. There are 13 rounds remaining in the season. The Warriors have one further bye (round 15) so that takes the points required down to 15. But they have only 12 games in which to get those points. So its basically 8 wins required from 12 games. We have all seen the Warriors do the seemingly impossible in the past - but this quite frankly looks bad.

Warriors form line for rounds 1-13 is:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Warriors beat Tigers

Great result for the Warriors - a 14-0 shut-out vs the Tigers.

Rookie Kevin Locke giving Warriors fans reason to hope once again. 

In other sports news the Cheifs got spanked, Lebron got knocked out of the playoffs and Chelsea won the FA cup. So not much good news there.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Warriors v Tigers

Well its about the time of year when the midseason NRL malaise sets in. It really is a long season - maybe there are too many games. Or maybe its just the fact that its always about this time of year when the Warriors seem locked in a kind of mid table purgatory - trying to squeek a win here or there to maintain the mathematical possibility of a playoff spot. One win in their last eight games is not good enough - and over reliance on the prospect of a miracle late season winning streak does not necessarily seem the best strategy. With that said - as I am noted in the past - maybe the first half of the season doesn't matter and its all just warm up for the run in to the playoffs. I just don't know and frankly I bore myself complaining about this team as its just the same indifferent mideseason Warriors form that we are all so accustomed to.  Maybe we have to give it up for this year and focus on next year (when by the way this blog is going to go stratospheric). But what this team needs right now - is some wins.

So where are we - it could be a time warp reading some of the material out there on the Warriors weaknesses. Big men running at Stacey Jones to exploit defensive weakness - is this 2003? The bench is the place for Jones these days and this is hopefully what Cleary has learnt to date.

Last couple of games have been thrashings. Somehow after appearing to have great depth in the halves - the Warriors have spiralled back to complete reliance on Jones. The release of Fien perplexes me. Clearys steady hand may be starting to waiver. 

Anyway Warriors (11th) play Tigers (10th) at home on Sunday. A win is desperately needed - as is some solution to the conundrum in the halves. Cleary is rejigging things a bit with the call up of two rookies  half/hooker Aaron Heremaia and under-20s star fullback Kevin Locke. Maybe its all just preperation for the future. Lets hope it works.

Pub talk

Hello everyone - hope you liked that Pepe Silvia clip - its from a show call "Its always sunny in Philadelphia".

I was told last night by a somewhat drunken individual that they only get their Warriors news from this blog and that due to my slackness in updating - they had no idea how the Warriors season was getting on. I kind of like the narrowness of this worldview - the idea that the world wide followers of this blog - in their thousands for sure - wakes every day and logs on to this site - only to have their hopes of a dose of Warriors news with no possible alternative dashed by my lack of an update. If you want to use this blog to the exclusion of all other news sources, be my guest, I just hope I don't dissappoint you.

Anyway lots going on outside of Warriors world at the moment - busy work - and packing up my life here in London for my imminent return to NZ. Will fly out from UK for good on 5 July, back in NZ by the start of December 2009. 

But for now its saturday, twenty degrees and sunny and I am not at work right now - so things are looking pretty good.

A big day in Sport today, FA Cup final, Super 14 final and Game 6 of the Cavs v Magic NBA playoff series. After dominating the entire season Lebron finds himself one game away from elimination (Orlando lead 3-2 in the best of seven series), how did the Cavs blow it so badly? Kobe by the way has just got himself and his Lakers into another NBA finals series. So that mouth watering Lebron/Kobe matchup is still a mathematical possibility - but would require a series of uninterupted Lebron miracles for it to happen. 

I will try and catch some of the Cheifs game - they seem a bit like the Warriors of the super 14 to me - always alot of promise but until now - not much in the way results. Lets hope they can pull off a win. 

FA Cup - I have to admit I really don't care that much about the result other than to say if Chelsea lose it would be preferable as Moyes really does deserve a trophy. 

And finally I would just like to say - North Korea - wtf are you thinking

As for the Warriors -now I have got everything else out - my next post will bring us up to date!

pepe silvia

Must update blog

Yeah I know I must update the blog - sorry peeps have just been too busy lately. Will get it done later today. In the meantime - wtf is this:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Warriors come back to win in golden point overtime!

This is sweet, great comeback by the team to beat the Roosters at home 17-16 on a Stacey Jones field goal in golden point overtime.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A years subscription of bad Roosters puns

Hello again, I hope everyone had a good Easter break. I must apologise for being a bit slack in keeping up the blog so far this season. The demands of work together with the Easter holidays and planning for the winding up of our time in London at the end of June this year are meaning I am devoting less time than I would like to the blog. With that said, there is so much material in the Warriorsblogosphere that I would like to touch on that I almost don't know where to begin.

First up a narrow loss last week to the Knights sounds like a real nailbiter. A whole season can get decided by tight losses like this one and the Warriors need to be able to win these games when they are in with a shot. I got a text about this result whilst I was in sunny Port Isaac in Cornwall for the Easter holidays.

This weeks game at home against the Roosters is looking like a good chance to get the season moving once again in the right direction with the return of Price and Vatuvei. The team need support more than ever so try and get along there for the kickoff at 2pm if you are going to be in Auckland.

The Hoff reckons this season is over already and that we should start planning for next year. Cleary Year V may well be one to look forward to - particularly since I should be back resident in NZ by then and hopefully with season ticket in hand. But lets not give up on Cleary Year IV just yet.

Did any readers of this blog snap up tix for Simon and Garfunkel in Auckland by the way? I would be there in a shot if I was in AK, Bridge over Troubled Water is like a Warriors anthem!

I also saw this article about the opportunity for the Warriors to play at Eden Park - this just seems wrong to me. For one thing Eden Park as the article suggests is not a great rugby or league ground anyway - its a cricket ground. As such the stands are not that close to the sidelines. Also despite the fact that it can seem a bit desolate at times with the new East Stand Mt Smart delivers a decent match day experience and has developed a history as the Warriors home such that it would seem unfortunate to just toss away. Why the club/council didn't pursue a redevelopment of Carlow Park we shall never know as that to my mind would have made the Warriors into a central part of the Auckland city scene in the way that the caketin in Wellington fits elegantly into the life of Wellington as a city. Anyone with any thoughts or first person closeup views on the Eden Park redevelopment progress please feel free to chime in on this.

Big couple of weeks in the English football season. Massive Champions League second leg results this week with Man U overcoming Porto on a Ronaldo wonder goal and Arsenal destroying Villareal at home. Now Man U play Arsenal in one semi and Chelsea play Barcelona in the other. This is champagne football and one of the best sporting products out there. This week we have the FA Cup semi finals which I understand are on free to air live TV in NZ? Man U v Everton and Arsenal v Chelsea present another couple of very watchable encounters.

As the NBA Playoffs begin - you know I am going to be backing Lebron and the Cavs to win it all this year, qualifying first in the east with the best record in the NBA and only losing two games at home all season so far.

And after all that I haven't even mentioned the now slightly old story about former NRL player Todd Carney who took nude photos of himself on a temporary mobile which he then returned to Telstra who gave the phone with said photos to someone else who then disclosed them to the papers. You may also enjoy this old article, headline "Todd Carney revelation: I've been an idiot". I could not make this stuff up if I tried. I would call this a brain explosion but its a much more long term thing than that. More like permanent brain injury.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good times don't last long

Well the good times didn't take long to go bad this season did they. Tate out for the season and now it looks like Vatuvei is facing knee surgery as well.

Thats two seriously big time players out long term. The replacement at centre for Tate will be Patrick Ah Van. Follow the link above for a good video piece on Vatuvei's injury and Ah Van as a replacement. 

Loss to the Broncoes was a real dissappointment but they look to be the form team of the competition and early title favourites with Manly yet to record a win. This week's game vs South's looks to be another tough one with Souths showing some excellent early form with two wins out of three leaving them second in the table in points diff. 

With all the doom and gloom we have to remember its early days and based on last year the first 12 rounds don't actually matter that much. The Warriors need to stay strong and beat the bottom half teams and they will still be in contention when some of these injury worries blow over. 

I thought it was pretty cool to see the Bulldogs lose two competition points in round 3 for fielding 14 players  in their win over the Penrith. Those of you who are old enough will remember that a similar points deduction in the Warriors first season after a win over the old Wests Magpies was the start of the derailment of that Warriors inaugural year and in the end the club missed the playoffs by - you guessed it - two points. In that case the Warriors used five interchange players instead of four so their big win 46-12 was annulled and the points deductedSo a nice harbinger to see it happen to someone else - apparently it has happened six times in history with the Warriors one of those. However no way should Penrith get a rematch - if they do we need to replay the NRL seasons right back to that Warriors game in 95 to be sure we get a fair result.

I just got back from Poland on Sunday so am a bit slow to update the blog. I did however get an email from Ali G out of the blue - how goes it in Aussie Ali? 

G20 summit in London this week and major protests against the banks and capitilism generally are expected to shut the city down for the next two days. Large scale "G20 Meltdown" riots and protests centred around the Bank of England are on the cards

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Great first up win for Warriors over the Eels

Well the Warriors off to a great start for 2009 with a win at home vs the Eels. A few shaky moments and errors but overall a good performance. There is a certain symmetry in being able to put away a Daniel Anderson coached side and lets hope its the start of a big year for the team.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Damning with faint praise

There are no bounds to the optimism coming out of NZ about the Warriors prospects this year. Striking a bolt from the blue - even Chris Rattue of the Herald a long time Warriors knocker and fair weather supporter if there ever was one - is picking a grand final spot for the team this year. That said - he is not exactly gushing in his support.

This mini-Manly implosion has got to be a good thing for the Warriors prospects though - you will recall the Warriors minor premiership and grand final appearance in 2002 was favourably assisted by the massive points penalty suffered by a fantastic Bulldogs side for salary cap breaches and it would be nice if Manly could take themselves out of the running one way or another.
I really enjoyed the Phil Gould suggestions that all NRL players should be contractually forbidden to drink for the duration of their contracts. Geez Phil don't you think thats a bit draconian?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weight of expectations

Well two good trial wins for the Warriors so far including the most recent 32-28 win over the Cowboys at North Harbour in Albany. Almost 30,000 fans turning out to watch the two trial matches. Bookies placing Warriors fourth in the running for the NRL title this year. All the noises out of NZ seem to be predicting a massive year for the Warriors this season (including new high tech jerseys).

I too can sense the quality and enthusiasm coming out of the squad this year. But forgive me for being a spoilsport, lets temper our expectations. I have been here too many times before to get over-confident about this club. They have looked great on paper many times in the past and not delivered. Trial games are also virtually meaningless. So quiet and restrained optimism is my outlook for the early season games. I really hope for the best for the team and there is a groundswell of support for them out there and the return of Jones has got to help as he is an icon of the club and the sport.

In other team news Lauaki has been released and Eastwood may well get picked up in what seems like a player merry go round with the English Super League. Eastwood is one of several ex-NRL players signed by Super League clubs but prevented from playing because the British High Commission has refused work visas. A series of brain explosions and criminal convictions has left a number of brain dead players in limbo. Eastwood, 21, is a useful utility who played lock, five-eighths and centre for the Brisbane Broncos from 2005-08. He made the Kiwis under Brian McClennan and it was McClennan who enticed him to sign with Leeds Rhinos but, two games into the Super League season, there is no sign of the High Commission backing down on its decision, which relates to traffic offences.

And a strong squad has been named for the Warriors final trial vs the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday night.

Finally Leeds play Manly in the World Club Challenge in the UK this week. I can't tell you what a non-event this game is in the UK with a round of Champions League round of 16 matches, FA Cup replays and the Carling Cup final also on this week. The biggest story around this game is that Leeds Australian player Danny Buderus has torn cartilage in his knee so will miss the game.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Season preview

Well the Warriors have had an excellent win in their first trial down in Hamiltron vs the Storm

The win included a big contribution from many players young and old including Warriors legend Stacey Jones.

This season could well be a good one and if Cleary can harness the emotion swirling around this team and direct it into their play they could be an unstoppable force. With that said psychological fragility is the Warriors calling card and added emotional weight may hurt rather than help. So the question may be one of which will implode first, the Warriors season or the world financial system. I really hope the team can keep it together and deliver what we all know they are capable of. 

My hopes are for a top four finish with a definite home semi first up.

Also good news  to see Mannering has extended his contract until 2012, he is a great example of the Warriors bringing local young talent through. I have to say when I saw the headline "Mannering resigns with Warriors" I thought it meant he was quitting the team - but fortunately thats not the case. 

Sonny Fai Memorial Season

I have had difficulty knowing how to deal with the loss of Sonny Fai on this blog. 

It is an unmitigated tradgedy for someone so young and with such potential to be lost like this. I can assure you that even for those of us living outside NZ hearing the news and letting it sink in has been deeply upsetting. The team will carry his memory with them forever.

This is now the Sonny Fai Memorial Season and the Warriors will do him proud this year.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Been a long time

Hello all - I guess by now many of you might have thought this blog was dead however I would consider it more of a hiatus. After watching the Warriors get kicked out of the NRL playoffs by a rampant Manly I couldn't stomach thinking about the team for a few months.

Anyway its a new year and a new season awaits once the interminably long off season ends. The draw for the season and the game by game schedule for the first five weeks of games has been released. The first few games are as follows:
Round 1 - Saturday 14 March - vs Eels at home
Round 2 - Sunday 22 March - vs Manly away
Round 3  - Saturday 28 March - vs Broncoes at home
Round 4 - Sunday 5 April vs Rabbitohs at home
Round 5 - Sunday 12 April vs Knights away

So we will know pretty early how the Warriors shape up with a few tough games in the opening set. The big question based on last years shock run to the semi-final has to be - does the regular season even matter at all? Or put another way - do we really need to worry about how the team goes across 26 rounds - when a late season push can take you within 80 minutes of the grand final. I would suggest that maybe Cleary has developed a new strategy - that is - forget about the first half of the season. Think of it as a training exercise in finding out who your best team is. After that put together 10 or so wins towards the end of the season and ideally squeeze into fourth spot on the table and enter the playoffs with big momentum. This might be wishful thinking but I think we can all agree the NRL is too long a season, rendering the individual regular season games somewhat meaningless (ala NBA) . If you had a 15 or 20 round season - each game would take on much more significance (see the NFL for a good precedent on that front).

The return of Jones to the playing squad is an interesting role of the dice, will be interesting to see how that develops and if Jones - rather than being the pivotal player he once was can be a role player or bench support to add depth if need be.  His leadership and reputation can't hurt - because as always the Warriors biggest enemy is inside their own heads so I am hopeful his addition to the squad will  be a plus rather than a negative.