Thursday, July 15, 2010

Returning Troops a mixed blessing

Tate, Hohaia, Seymour and Locke are all fit to play against the Storm Saturday night. This is good news but is almost a disaster because they have to shift Ropati out of fullback and Brown back in to the second row when they have both played so well at fullback and centre respectively. Moon, Tupou (hand injury) and John (knee injury) dropped.

Sad to see Isaac John lost for the season as he has been something of a revelation but its great to have the experience of Seymour back in the side to partner Maloney.

The return of Tate, Locke and Hohaia I am just not sure about. Yes they are all quality experienced starters but we have to weigh that against the disruption to what has been a winning unit caused by their return. Cleary knows what he is doing however and there were some tired players after last weeks heroics so we have to bank that the freshness of the returning senior players can galvanise the side to lift against what will be a very challenging Storm side.

Am looking forward to the Storm game Saturday where I will be joining the Wellington Warrior at Mt Smart once more. My only worry is that the TAB has placed the Warriors as favourites for this match. That is never a good sign. Particularly when this is a full strength Storm side who smashed us last time we played them. We have to hope that pyshologically the Storm just aren't up for this game which will be played in the cold and wet at Mt Smart (forecast is rain for game time again).

I would say right now Maloney and Lewis Brown are battling for Warriors player of the year honours.

In transfer news it looks like Matai is keen to join the Warriors for next season so that should give us even more depth.

Everything is looking bright for the Warriors. Only problem is that it is at times like these that the wheels have in the past come off. Lets hope thats not the case this week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Awesome defensive win

Well that was a big time win for the Warriors. With the ref putting them under seemingly endless repeat sets in their own red zone for the entire second half they managed to keep Penrith out. Nice work and its one win closer to the playoffs. With this kind of form we can start thinking about finishing in the top 6.

This setup with Brown in the centres and Ropati at the back is producing some great performances and some big wins. Isaac John looks like he may have a knee injury which should hopefully be covered by Seymour's return. As for Hohaia, I don't know if he is a starter right now, even if fit.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Great trio of wins for the Warriors now the run home

So three nice wins in a row for the Warriors. The most recent an awesome performance smashing of the Eels at Mt Smart in the pouring rain. I was there to watch and although I really like the view from the lower eastern its not much fun to sit in the continuous rain and cold for three hours.

I like Lewis Brown in the centres. I think he is a good option there to produce line breaks with his speed and power. He can also rotate into the middle for hit ups when required. There is alot of interchangeability developing in the squad. Born out of necessity due to the horrible run of injuries the team has suffered. When will Seymour return?

Anyway the Herald is pegging 30 pts as the cut off for the playoffs. I tend to think with the Storm out of the equation 28 points would be enough. Mid round we sit on 20 points. So either way we need 4 or 5 games out a remaining nine. Looking back on my earlier post 12 games out about the run home we have managed to win all three of our games so far. Nice. So the remaining games look like this:

Round 18 - Panthers - 2nd - (a)
Round 19 - Storm - 16th (=about 4th) -(h)
Round 20 - Rabbitohs - 7th - (a)
Round 21 - Titans - 5th - (h)
Round 22 - Sharks - 14th - (a)
Round 23 - Knights - 12th - (h)
Round 24 - Sea Eagles - 6th - (a)
Round 25 - Broncoes - 8th- (h)
Round 26 - Eels - 11th - (a)
This is looking feasible. We only have to win half or just over half our games. Sharks, Knights and Eels should be automatic wins if we are half way serious about a playoff run and can maintain consistency in our form with players returning from injury to inject some added firepower.

So thats leaves us looking for one or two more wins to lock in the playoffs. Today would be a great game if we could pick up a win it would put us into really serious contention. However its likely no more than a 50/50 proposition at best. I do think we can win two out of our four games v the Rabs, Titans, Sea Eagles and Broncoes. Any two will do.

I think the great thing about this years comp for the Warriors is none of the teams look that scary. The Storm on their day are terminators, but we don't have to worry about them this year. So that leaves what to my mind are marginal contenders in the likes of the Dragons, Panthers and Sea Eagles. If our squad was fit I think we are good enough to join a top four with those three teams. Other teams have had their moments, in particular Souths and the Tigers but none have really established consistency. This is the time of the season to do it and without wanting to get too excited if we play our cards right we could be this seasons Eels.