Sunday, March 14, 2010

Disappointing loss to Titans after strong start

Great to see the NRL finally kick off this weekend and to see the Warriors back on the field in DB Bitter style 1995 retro blue and green uniforms.

As for the game it was at times tough to watch, with tons of dropped ball by both teams, the Warriors bombing tries and ghastly and bizarre refereeing decisions.

The Warriors started strongly and looked fast, organised and well drilled in the early exchanges with some nice tight angled passing behind the ruck. The Titans on the other hand looked shaky and sloppy in the first 20 mins or so. A great lead up of slick passing and then a bit of luck led to the Warriors first try. Seymour and Heremia both looked good. The Warriors scored two unanswered tries to lead 12-0 - both came from Seymour kicks to the wing with one each caught by Vatuvei and Locke.

After the first 20mins the game started to deteriorate with the Titans regaining possession from the restart after the Warriors second try by way of a short Preston Campbell kick off (which the Warriors better learn to deal with) and turning it straight into points through a soft soft try that should never have been scored. That defensive lapse opened the chink in the Warriors that ultimately cost them the game.

The Warriors did manage one more try before half time with good play delivering 4 repeat sets in the red zone ultimately ending with Vatuvei finding himself all alone on the left wing with a clear run to the line. Seymour kicked the conversion -he made 3/3 on shots at goal. This guy's form is now effectively the arbiter of our season. At this point if the Warriors had held out to halftime without conceding they might have survived the game. Unfortunately they were far too soft and sloppy for that. The Titans managed a further soft try before halftime taking the score to 18-12 at the break.

In the second half the result looked inevitable. The Warriors were sluggish and error prone. The Titans weren't that much better but they looked like they had more energy and the skill level and speed of Prince and Campbell in particular really started to show through. Other Titans stars like Matt Rogers and Greg Bird made little impact.

The Warriors had a few chances, but blew them all with poor finishing. Two further Titans tries and it was game over.

Hard to know what Cleary will make of this. The Titans played poorly and still won. That is a signature of playoff teams. The Warriors on the other hand controlled much of the game, had tons of possession and still lost. That is very worrying.

So on the plus side - there is hope in the halves and Vatuvei and Locke had some good moments. On the downside - we need to see a lot more from Brent Tate and we need some more experience in the forwards - aka Mannering and Price. Luck looked lost at times and when the Warriors reached the red zone they looked a but disorganised. High kicks to the corners are effective - but you need to be able to score tries through clever passing through the middle as well.

Most importantly to have a hope of improvement the Warriors need to maintain the energy and zest with which they started the game for the whole match and crucially they need to maintain defensive concentration for the 10 minutes prior to halftime.

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