Saturday, March 20, 2010

Warriors win big over Sharks at Mt Smart

Well first off - what a great game last night. The Warriors storming out of the blocks to go 16-0 up and despite wavering in the run in to halftime coming back strong to win the game 30-16.

Big bummer of the year is the thumb injury to Seymour that ruled him out of last nights match and may well see him out for 6-8 weeks. This is the nightmare come to fruition for the team because most opponents will be a lot harder to beat that the miserable Sharkies. As we saw last night with a number of conversions missed in his absence, Seymour is far and away the number one kicking option in addition to being critical at halfback. Without points from conversions we will have to score 1.5 times as many tries to end up in the same place. The Warriors concealed the Seymour injury in the leadup to last nights game in the hope it would throw off the Sharks gameplan. Thats all good but I was pretty disappointed to only find out as the teams ran onto the park that Seymour was not starting. There is a hint in this article from the SMH that maybe the thumb injury did not happen during last weeks game vs the Titans but in more controversial off-field circumstances - does anyone have anything on this?

I did however have a really good time attending the match last night. We decided to travel to and from the game by public transport which was a roll of the dice but it worked out ok. We started off with a bus from New Lynn bus depot. Thank goodness that place is about to be demolished, its even more desolate that I remember. The bus wound its way through Owairaka and 3 Kings before rocking up right outside the entrance to Gate C exactly on time. How convenient.

I have been away so long I have never sat in the new eastern stand and it was great, good facilities and seating. It was easy and quick to get beers and the view from the stand was excellent.

The match itself was great fun. Outside of a knockon from the initial kickoff - for the first 20 minutes or so the Warriors were utterly dominant and at 16-0 I thought maybe this was going to be a 50 point blowout win. The Warriors had a number of line breaks including a few great runs by Tate, Hiho, Locke and Lewis Brown who really impressed me all round. A couple of the line breaks happened right in front of our seats and seeing these guys chew up the metres with the entire Sharks pack chasing them was really fun to watch.

But then the dreaded pre-halftime drop off occurred with several soft tries being conceded. This collapse was so total that the Sharkies were able to climb all the way back to 16-14 at halftime and all the way to 16-16 with an early penalty in the second half.

A word has to be said about the quality of the refereeing. It was terrible. Please NRL can the Warriors get a game with a decent ref please? At one point a number of dodgy decisions stacked up (if there are two men in the tackle its a strip bro) to make it look at times like the officiating team had money on the Sharks.

So going into the second half the Warriors still had work to do but they managed to stabilise and dominate the second half through repeat sets, a low error rate and solid defending. The continuing bad refereeing decisions didn't help but the Warriors were assisted by the fact that the Sharks are ghastly. We can feel pretty happy that this is not the club we have to support. They are miserably pathetic. Trent Barrett had nothing.

Vatuvei was his usual powerhouse self - seemingly unstoppable from 10 out. However he needs to ensure he is not the channel through which soft tries are scored in his corner. This has happened two weeks in a row now. The Beast is a legend but in a similar vein to Lomu he needs to defend strong too. But don't get me wrong - he is a megastar right now and he does his work when needed - when he takes the ball up the middle he takes it with power.

There was some minor tension in the second half but the result was hardly in doubt and finally Rapira sealed the game with a barging try late on and it was all over.

So overall a good win that was well needed. The loss of Seymour is a real worry but we just have to move on and assess the alternatives in his absence. Maybe Hiho in the halves is an option? Not all teams we play will be as poor as the Sharks. Teams like the Dragons, Storm and Eels will not give up 16 point starts and will blow us off the park if we lapse like we have done in the late first half of the first two games.

It was really fun to be at Mt Smart - checking out the atmosphere and the various members of the Warriors entourage. Notable gear bag and water boys spotted during the game included Ruben Wiki, Ian Henderson and Jerry Seuseu. Steve Price was also a prominent presence on the sideline coming out at the end of the game to congratulate the team on a job well done. The word is that the 36 year old Price is in full training and may be in the starting line up for next weeks game away to the Broncoes. This is good news.

Feel free to place your comments on the game or anything I've said by clicking on the comments button below.

Lets hope the winning continues for the Warriors next week in a tough away game in Brisbane.


Dan said...

Thank you for the blog Mat - good to read - am still trying to get sopcast to watch the highlights/games etc - bigpond does not seem to work so cant even find highlights online at the moment - any ideas or links you have would be great!!!

Dan said...

i also see that maloney could be gone for two weeks - hoho to number 7? - or heremia or Johnston or locke?