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.