Saturday, March 06, 2010

One week to go till Warriors kick off vs Titans

Only 7 days to go until Season 2010 - Cleary Year V - kicks off for the Warriors away vs the Titans at Skilled Park. The game will be 4pm Sunday NZ time.

You can check out all the pre-game matchup details here. The Titans are not a super-elite club by any means but it will not be an easy game for the Warriors, they have lost their last three against the Titans and both the last two meetings at Skilled Park.

It is important for the Warriors to start the season strong with a few early wins to banish the pain of last years disappointment. The Warriors first 8 games are - Titans (a), Sharks (h) (tickets are already on sale), Broncoes (a), Manly (h), and Bulldogs (a), Panthers (h), Storm (a), Raiders (h). I am thinking that four wins out of those eight would be a good performance and anything else a bonus. The Titans game looks to be one of the more winnable matchups. Check the full Warriors season draw here.

Big questions remain throughout the side. Who will be first choice goalkicker? Is Mannering up to the captaincy? Can Wade Mac and Tate return to past form? How many games will Price actually manage? How best to use Hohaia? Can Seymour translate his pre-season form into consistent regular season performances as the playmaker of the side and avoid back sliding on his alcohol issues?

The Warriors last met the Titans at Mt Smart in Round 22 last year. In that game the Titans won 30-10. The Titans lost their last three games last year vs Manly, Brisbane and Paramatta. But those last two games were in the playoffs after the Titans finished 3rd for the year. They probably had designs on a run to the grand final but were knocked out by the fantastic Eels cinderella run to the grand final from 8th spot. In terms of regular season games the Titans have won four of their last five.

The Warriors on the other hand are coming off four losses out of their last five regular season matches - and finishing 14th overall for 2009.

Big story for the Titans this off-season is the controversial signing of former NSW Origin player Greg Bird. In February 2010 Bird was acquitted of allegations of physically assaulting a woman in a Sydney nightclub. Bird was previously sacked by Cronulla Sharks over allegations that he "glassed" his girlfriend Katie Milligan.

In August 2008, Bird, was accused of recklessly wounding his American girlfriend, Katie Milligan, following an early-morning drunken argument. She sustained a fractured eye-socket and damage to her eye but when the pair arrived at hospital they pointed the finger of blame at Bird’s flat-mate, Brent Watson. They claimed he had thrown a glass at Milligan – despite the fact Watson was actually out playing golf at the time. The pair refused to give statements to police at the time of the attack or in court when it came to trial, and Bird was found guilty and sentenced to a maximum of 16 months in jail. He immediately appealed and was eventually cleared of all charges after convincing the court that Milligan’s drug usage had caused her to behave erratically and that he was only defending himself. The presiding judge labelled their web of lies “extremely foolish”. The Sharks had already cut their losses and released him in January 2009

Bird's deal with the Titans contains strict behavioural clauses after his recent quashed assualt charges. Bird is expected to partner Scott Prince at the Titans scrum base with Matt Rogers moving into the centres.

So no doubt this shapes up as a tough match - but they are all going to be hard. Lets hope the Warriors can put the puzzle together and win their first game for the pride of the club. And lets also be thankful that the Warriors in general actually behave pretty well as individuals and we don't have loads of assaults and drunken outbursts to deal with (barring the odd Sione Faumauina).

No comments: