General Graeme Lowe: Hinting that Hohaia should be at 7

mosh_old

Guest
Graham Lowe: Warriors' numbers just don't stack up

13.04.06


I may be just a simple bloke from Otahuhu, but I do have a theory. Are you ready? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then the odds are, it is a duck.

Simple (and obviously not an Otahuhu original). But, it's a theory which has served me well in situations around the world (although I couldn't vouch for it these days in Sydney's Kings Cross or Auckland's K Rd).

It's also been a pretty good rule of thumb in the over-hyped world of league.

With a little translation, for example: If it looks like a wide-ranging, hard-running second rower, and plays like one, then it probably is one.

If it looks like a scampering dummy-half, and runs like one, then again it should probably be in the number nine jersey.

Get the picture? Unfortunately I don't think the Warriors have.

At a time when almost every side in the NRL is talking about the brilliance of their little men, the Ericsson-based side looks to be critically short of the most important component in any team - a playmaker - and what's more it looks to me like they are trying to manufacture one.

Consider these comments from the Sydney Morning Herald's Roy Masters this week:

"[Andrew] Johns and his opponent this Sunday, the Cowboys' Johnathan Thurston, have reversed the terror and hours before a big game. "For almost all of the history of both rugby codes, the current of fear originated in the vicious tacklers and flowed white hot into the rattled psyches of the players who earned their big contracts for what they did with ball in hand.

"But Johns, Thurston and a fit Benji Marshall have sent the terror flow back the other way.

"The big props who once stalked around dressing rooms, barking commands at their timid halves and wingers, head-butting lockers, taping knuckles, grunting at officials, causing everyone else to have nervous pees, are the ones praying out loud.

"The little attacking players are now in command. Cleaning up the game - ridding it of vicious elbows, coathangers, stomping, rising knees - is a big factor but the predators are now the prey; terrified stand the terrorists."

Masters has correctly fingered the dominance of the little playmakers in the modern game. And in doing so, he has left observers of the Warriors with some worrying questions.

Can the Auckland club make a clever stand-off out of a physical and not-too-subtle back row forward in Sione Faumuina? Will persisting with Nathan Fein, a more than competent dummy-half but with limited attacking options, suddenly turn up with the playmaking skills they so desperately need?

In Otahuhu-speak: can they turn these ducks into the peacocks who are strutting their stuff so brilliantly at other clubs?

Granted, as St George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown said of Johns after his side's flogging at the hands of Newcastle last weekend: "You're not going to see another player like him in a hundred years."

But the Warriors had one, arguably as good, in Stacey Jones.

It is a damning indictment on their football nous (or lack of it at the time), that he is now seeing out the twilight of his brilliant career in some obscure part of France.

There are many who will argue there is another who has shown the ability to join the ranks of the very good playmakers. Yet, staggeringly, Lance Hohaia hasn't even been able to make the Warriors bench in recent weeks and is 18th man this week


It seems Kiwi coach Brian McClennan sees him as an option in the (admittedly depleted) halves against Australia, but the Warriors do not.

I know Manly were very pleasantly surprised when Hohaia was not out even in the 17 to face them last Sunday.

One of the biggest challenges any coach in the NRL faces is to convince his players that it's easier to run through an open door than barge through a wall.

The art of simply putting a player into a gap seems to be beyond the ability of most of the Warriors' players.

Ballplayers create space and put supporting players into holes. The good ones do it before the line or, to put it another way, before a hand is laid on them.

Finding such players is like walking along the beach kicking over rocks and looking for a diamond. But they are around.

The Warriors face another one this week, the Raiders' veteran five-eighth, Queenslander Jason Smith.

At 34, he is still one of the best ballplayers in the game and he does most of his damage before the line with his ability to draw and pass.

But even with his talent the Raiders look a very average side and should not prove to be too much of a struggle for the Warriors.

The Warriors' next opponents have come at the right time. Against the Raiders then the Rabbitohs they should be able to get themselves back on track. Because on present form the Bulldogs, who they play after Souths, will murder them.

The Raiders do not have a rushing goal-line defence which will suit the Warriors, who appear to be happy just to catch and pass in the hope they will find an overlap.

I have a gut feeling the Warriors have read far more into their win against the West Tigers three weeks ago than what it really was. Sure, the Warriors' attack looked purposeful but they seem to have overlooked the fact that the Tigers were a shadow of the team of 2005 and, in fact, were very poor.

However, I'm still confident the Warriors will be too strong for this Raiders outfit who must be in some sort of disarray since it was revealed their coach Matthew Elliott has already signed with Penrith for next year.

And they are not the same team without Simon Woolford, who is on suspension. But it remains to be seen if the Warriors can change their plumage for a much-needed win.

Good to see that we arent the only ones who feel that Hohaia should be given a fair go. Graeme Lowe always seems to be on the money with his comments and articles. He and Dale Budge are two good writers. Dale Budge unfortunately does not have the "balls" to be critical unfortunately.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
I, think he is onto something there as were alot of you lot too and fair enough. He's got to be there damn it. Grr..but no use whinging about it not really going to get us anywhere.

Btw, loved his description of the big forwards! haha that was brilliant.
 

sebastian_old

Guest
Hohia 7, Hohia7, Hohia 7. Hopefully cleary can read this & get the sublimanal mesage. Otherwise duck for a peakock it is!!!
 

northwarrior_old

Guest
He hasn't said anything really, just stired up the emotions of the believers......I remain unconvinced.
There has to be more to it than that.....2 coaches have struggled to find a place for him...is it an attitude thing?
We can only judge the coaches by progress and success. Which i wish IC heaps of.
 

sebastian_old

Guest
northwarrior said:
He hasn't said anything really, just stired up the emotions of the believers......I remain unconvinced.
There has to be more to it than that.....2 coaches have struggled to find a place for him...is it an attitude thing?
We can only judge the coaches by progress and success. Which i wish IC heaps of.

You could be right, LH might have the skills of a half back but might be missing leadership qualities, which fien has. It could be as simple as that.
 

PB_old

Guest
I personally know that G.Lowe would never, ever have left a player out due to attitude and only ever selected on playing potential. Nah. I can't back that up because it would be bollocks.

Lowe always finds fault with the Warriors and seems to almost write exclusively against them attempting to erase his own past managerial ineptitude. Ideally, he should turn his undoubted skills to the NZRL - who are in dire need of some attention - rather than harping on about what a debut first grade coach should be doing. Every now and then - fine; but it's not. Go away before you become another George Piggins.

Hohaia is a fine talent who somehow doesn't seem to be able to claim a first team position over less talented individuals. Everyone agrees they have less talent and everyone agrees he has more. I wonder why? Is he the victim of a vast coach-wide conspiracy to exclude him? Or do the other players listen, put in more and play/train close to the limits of their potential every week? Hmmm....what could it be?
 

playdaball_old

Guest
Another good article by lowie. IMO he is the best of the RL expert writers - Hughie, Wiki etc. His comments re Sione were spot on.
 

edguy_old

Guest
i reckon hohaia will play saturday nite at hooker , for gatis........gatis has been ordinary in the last 2 games....

my tip for the weekend ... :wink:

he will get the halfback job some stage this year ......
 

Warrior_Hot_Stepper_old

Guest
Hohaia should be no7, and shift Fien to no6, Faumuina at Lock. We have more attacking options then with Webb Acting as another ball player.
And by the way give Hohaia a fair chance so he can find his feet. Why did he get dropped in the first place?.
 

Warrioraholic_old

Guest
How can people knock Hohia when he has never even been given the chance to be the number 1 number 7. He has allways been a fix it player when someone was out.

Wonder what stacey would think of our 6 and 7 after playing with them all. Wonder how he would select the team. I bet he has Hohia at 7
 

PB_old

Guest
Warrioraholic said:
How can people knock Hohia when he has never even been given the chance to be the number 1 number 7. He has allways been a fix it player when someone was out.

Wonder what stacey would think of our 6 and 7 after playing with them all. Wonder how he would select the team. I bet he has Hohia at 7

Stacey is a great player but what he could/would think about what is happening now is irrelevant. He isn't the coach or even a coach. Players opinions on who should be in a team mean nothing unless there is a squad-wide issue with a player.
 

Iafeta_old

Guest
Likewise, how can you knock the coaching staff's decision if you don't know the circumstances surrounding Lance not being in the team, nor at number seven. The innuendo suggests Lance did not follow the game plan versus Parramatta, if that is the case, then fair enough - he needed a kick up the backside. George Gatis and Grant Rovelli have both played to the game plan, and gone well. You don't need to make a line break every minute to be an effective hooker, primarily its about defending in the centre of the ruck, supporting the ball carriers, and offering good decisive service to the outside backs.

I agree completely and utterly with the voice of sense and reason in this thread, Polar Bob. Graeme Lowe is trying to take away the heat of the bullets that should be aimed in his direction for the diabolical way he ran the club. The fact of the matter is, those in glass houses shouldn't cast the first stone, though in this case, Graeme has well and truly demolished the glass house with a barrage of boulders.

It is very easy to get caught up in the fashionable comments regarding Fien and Faumuina. However, it is apparent that Fien is gaining more control as our halfback, his performances are improving. He had an absolutely disgraceful game versus Parramatta, that aside he's taken the line on, and created half opportunities that just haven't been ceased upon. Faumuina, brilliant against the Sea-Eagles, easy to pick him apart and say he's too big, but that's nonsense. Daley and Fittler weren't your prototype five eighths but they travelled a path less travelled and came up winners as well. Faumuina has the skills, he now has to develop the instinct to know how to turn a dangerous play, the play's he is coming up with now, into an effective play - IE, how to turn the half break into a full break, how to convert a broken defensive line into a shattered defensive line for four points. Even the greats take time in developing that art. I'm confident though by years end people will have a completely different look at Sione's performances in the six jumper.

I take little, to no heed of what Mr Lowe has to say. It is quite clear, from an ex journalist's perspective that his view is not aimed to show what he believes, but moreso create controversial discussion to sell his paper. He's very much in the sensationalistic English tabloid columnist style of writing, very little skill involved. Another one that joins that list is Chris Rattue. I pay far more attention to experience opinion columnists such as Peter Williams, Wynne Gray, Richard Boock and David Leggat who can argue the toss negatively, and positively, and still sell ads in the paper. Those guys are class, they are even minded yet just as effective as doomsayers such as Lowe and Rattue.
 

L N_old

Guest
lowe a sensationalist
more so a bloke that likes to take the mickey
out of any player....legend or rookie

he has experience the high and lows of our game
and as we all know
the bloke wears his emotins on his sleeve

and will continue to call it how he sees it
he has earned that respect......surely

though i seem to differ from his thoughts
from time to time....as do most of us

he has earned the right more then any other leaguie journo to write what he thinks
thens its up to the individual or masses to decide

you could be forgiven for question
his journalistic motives some times

but you cant question the mans love for the game
local and internationally
dam the game nearly cost him his life
how much more passion can you show then that

i may beg to disagree with lowe
but respect him for what he has done
for the game will always remain
 

Iafeta_old

Guest
I have no doubt about his passion.

But I have major doubts about how constructively he is using his passion. He is a very opinionated man, some times the best method is let your actions do the talking. Get out there, and make a difference. Knocking people down recklessly is no way to make a positive contribution.
 

L N_old

Guest
feta just reading your last post
a quick thought pop in my head

is lowe......our phil gould?

both of them very opinionated
and will call a spade a spade

granted gould
has won the big show

but both blokes are looked upon
in the same regards
in there irrepective countries

analitical assets?
or
loathsome liabilities?

gould is a person
who i regard in the lowe mentality

the games best interest at heart
but will not tow the line
behind others

if it dosent suit his way of thinking
you cant teach a dog new tricks
and those two are old school junk yard dogs
 

northwarrior_old

Guest
I don't know 4 sure but, Maybe every team has a LH. A player with talent, a fav with the fans, but lacking something from the coaches perspective?
I personally can't think of one, but i'll throw it out there.....
 

warriors4life_old

Guest
Hohaia has been peforming to a high standard in Bartercard Cup so I see no reason why he shouldn't be back in the Warriors squad, so he can prove himself to get picked for the Kiwis.
 

playdaball_old

Guest
Lets not forget that it is the media who always approach Lowie. He features on radio sport and TV on a regular basis. He will always give an honest and personal opinion not the usual PR/PC lines that a number of jurnos tend to give. I don't always agree with his comments but at least he speaks his mind.
 

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