General LM's Warriors Midseason Report Card

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Lego_Man

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We are past the halfway point of the regular season, so now is a good time to assess where we stand after Bluey's first 13 weeks at the helm.​
Offence:

The better facet of our play this season. Individually our players look sharp and can threaten the line. We have found a penetrative centre in the form of Hurrell, and our big men have been rumbling up the middle, with Matulino particularly dominant. On the other hand some of our last tackle options have been found wanting, and Johnson has overplayed his hand a little at times and sought out the "hero" play. Great at times (eg vs Easts), but teams are getting better at shutting these down. The ability to sum up and control a game will come given time and XP. Missing has been a ballplaying forward in good form (Mateo's role) - whether this is due to coach-induced uncertainty, or purely player-specific, is up for debate.

Team Offence Rating = B+


Defence:

The most disappointing aspect of the season to date and a massive decline from 2011. Fringe defence has been particularly woeful. Some individuals have shown significant weakness in their game whether it be decision making (Vatuvei) or technique (Maloney). There seems to be a general lack of "starch", composure, and the ability to hang tough on our own goal line - the absence of Luck has been damaging here. Also disruptive has been the absence of Locke, whose positional play at the back is generally very tidy. Mannering has once again shone, and truly justified his title as the Kevin Costner of the side, cleaning up others errors and generally being in the right place at the tight time.

Team Defence Rating = C-


Coaching and Selections:

Easy to focus on the bad selection calls (Inu, Ropati?) and forget the good. Henry and Hurrell have been blooded, and though there have been a few shaky moments, noone could deny that we are better off for that. Highly questionable though has been the use of the interchange bench - a wide gulf from how Ivan was able to marshal his resources. Examples range from the questionable (a rampaging Matulino regularly being off the field long enough to watch a MySkyed Game of Thrones episode) to the insane (his continual use of Ta'ai at the wrong moments, and against the wrong opposition). Questions also need to be asked about his ability to prepare the team for gameday, given the number of slow starts conceded this season. As per above, the fact that defence has gone so far backwards from 2011 also suggests that something is amiss.

Coaching Rating = C


The Verdict:

The Warriors were a 2011 Grand Final side and predicted by many to take out the title this year. To be outside the 8 at the halfway point of the season clearly comes up short of what fans could expect. The positives are that the team is within striking distance of the Top 8 (though a win over the Panthers is vital this weekend), and there is still time to turn things around. What really needs to change is attitude and execution on defence, as we are clearly a team with enough points in us to win games. Keeping a fit team throughout the second half of the season will be crucial.


Overall Rating: C




*(Scale):

A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D
 
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Danpatmac

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Tidy.

I can't argue with any of your assertions there although, I would probably rate our defence even lower than a C- given our defensive statistics.
 
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Hitman82

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Nice rant LM, good stuff.

Aren't we the worst defensive team in the competition? I'd rate us a D in that respect, particularly considering just last season our line defense was one of our strong points. I used to have faith in us defending our line with staunch resolve... now I pretty much expect the opposition to score every time they are near it. TBH every game reminds me of the times last season when Luck was injured... we show dick all aggression, no line speed, and seem to be genuinely confused as to when we should move up and make the tackle. Communication and cohesion in the defensive line is amateurish at best.

Is your point regarding Ta'ai his selection in general, or simply the timing of his injection into the game? I'm a noted Ta'ai fanboy, and feel he was made to look bad by playing in the middle when he goes much better running wide. As for his continued selection, remember we were down to like 2.5 props at the start of the season.

Similarly with Lousi - I notice a few posters ranting about how hopeless he is. Not really sure why? I think he was one of our best early in the season, and has been trundling along in passable form since. He doesn't miss many tackles, regularly give away penalties or drop the ball. I'd rate him alongside Hurrell and Henry as proof that Bluey has some value as a developer and manager of inexperienced players.

I absolutely agree with your comments regarding Mannering. He's pretty much the whiskey in our coke - without him, every game would be a waste of time.

Ben Matulino is certainly our Khal Drogo, and Shaun Johnson our Khalisi... he's still coming of age, and yet to unleash his dragons upon the world.

I'm starting to ramble really badly so I will sign off.

Cheers
 
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facefacts

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Tidy.

I can't argue with any of your assertions there although, I would probably rate our defence even lower than a C- given our defensive statistics.

I think our defense has been better than it looks, it's Maloney, Johnson and Vatuvei that have let the team down defensively...our middle has been as solid as any team
in the comp, and have been let down by our edges... in my opinion.

I think our attack will be much better with Locke in the team...iv'e said it before and i'll say it again, we've missed Locke far more than we realize.


Results wise: C

Our place considering the inexperience of many of our players and coach, and injuries to key players: B-
 
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Lego_Man

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I think our defense has been better than it looks, it's Maloney, Johnson and Vatuvei that have let the team down defensively...our middle has been as solid as any team
in the comp, and have been let down by our edges... in my opinion.

That was my rationale for keeping the rating above D.

That and we havent completely gone to pieces so far this season...
 
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Sup42

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Some points of difference.

The poor starts to games have been overcome Of late , So the Coaches prep of the team is excellent ....at some point they go away from the winning game plan and early leads in games evaporate.

Most of us realise the other team is going to score....momentum shifts.

Few should be happy about the lapses in concentration....a predictable loss of structure on attack, the one area the team has shown an edge in, seems to evaporate into thin air...completing sets from well timed dummy half service..... with strategically smart kicks just turns into Muddled , disjointed poor option taking.

I think the Coach gets a B for his role....taking into account half our preferred Spine has been missing and the Lack of on field leadership to crack down on these guys when they start to stray can't be layed at the foot of the coach.

Defensively Individual players have to put their hands up Johnson , Maloney , Manu, & Fisiahi have been exposed without Luck Freind and Locke.

Mannering can't do it all on his own....he is a brilliant player but struggles as a leader imo ....in that dynamic individual players have to take the initiative and pay the guy some respect by emulating his work ethic.

People go on about the example Mannering sets as the reason for his Captaincy, well that doesn't wash when what the team is delivering is the worst Defense Going and I've yet to be convinced this back line is learning consistency from watching Mannerings Kevin Costner
 
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Hitman82

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Early in the season the defensive issue was our marking style - that was solved after 5 or 6 games.

A remaining issue is obviously individual misses from guys like Maloney, Vatuvei etc... but...

I firmly believe the biggest current issue with backline defense has been Locke's absence. His clean up work and communication are what held it together.
 
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ToiletDuck

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It's not Mannering's job to teach the backline how to defend. He's a Kevin Costner because the backline can't defend.
 
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Hitman82

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So, what you're saying is Kevin Costner doesn't actually want to be Kevin Costner... he simply is through necessity.
 
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facefacts

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It's not Mannering's job to teach the backline how to defend. He's a Kevin Costner because the backline can't defend.
Yup....I cant really think of anything more Mannering could be doing as a captain and player to lead his team, i think if we're putting any blame on his shoulders for our
poor form....then we really are looking in the wrong place.
 
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Sup42

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Why sight that as a reason the guy should be captain then ? Its not logical Captain ( spock voice)

In any case Mannering isn't to blame for how the Team is under performing....that was never the point in my post, the issue is does he have the best skill set to Influence what happens around him ? good to agree to disagree sometimes.

Tony Iro is the one doing all the Talking in the Team Huddles....Luck does it at training...and Lillyman we are told.

Could be a pointer.....
 
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Dankokoro 2.0

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Why sight that as a reason the guy should be captain then ? Its not logical Captain ( spock voice)

In any case Mannering isn't to blame for how the Team is under performing....that was never the point in my post, the issue is does he have the best skill set to Influence what happens around him ? good to agree to disagree sometimes.

Tony Iro is the one doing all the Talking in the Team Huddles....Luck does it at training...and Lillyman we are told.

Could be a pointer.....
Yeah i wonder if Mannering is the type of Captain that will give one of his players a massive bullocking if they make a bad read, or miss a simple tackle.. It concerns me that without Michael Luck in the team we have no really old heads that would be willing to have a go at some of the younger guys. Steve Price did it.. Brent Tate did it. Doubt anyone's doing it in this team at the moment.

And on our defense.. Kevin getting injured has been really bad for our season. The Fish's and Ropos positional play leave a lot to be desired and they were often nowhere near the ball when tries off kicks were scored. Kevin was always right there competing for the ball and if he wasn't trying to run it out of the in goal he was running or batting it dead. Good halves have been taking advantage of this current weakness in our game.. just look at what Benji did to us a few weeks back.

I also think our goal line defense has been very ordinary, but more so our fringes as opposed to our middle third. Though i think teams have had such luck on our fringes they haven't needed to go the hard route. I just wonder how much of it has to do with the fact we're playing two rookie centres. We've been conceeding so many tries either side of them. I'm not saying they're directly responsible, and i think Henry has been very strong defensively, Hurrell not too bad... I just wonder how much it's contributing to an over-all lack of confidence in our decision making out wide and also just a lack of leadership out there..

I think talking about Manu and Tupou and their 'bad reads' is a bit of a generic statement with not much recent evidence to it... Tupou especially.. i remember just one or maybe two bad reads this year and they were very early on.. Manu has been worse with a couple of bad missed tackles (Utai and that one vs Raiders), and he's been caught in field a few times..slow to turn and chase.. But i really think most of the damage is being done further in-field.
 
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playdaball

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A good report however I cant believe that you gave offence a B+. I think at times we've been woeful (2nd half of Storm game springs to mind).

Overall a C with pencilling in a C- a real possibility.

Hurell and Henry have been far better than I imagined for 2012.
 
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Lego_Man

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A good report however I cant believe that you gave offence a B+. I think at times we've been woeful (2nd half of Storm game springs to mind).

Overall a C with pencilling in a C- a real possibility.

Well, we've consistently been in the Top 4 Points Scored statistics so far this season.

If you think our offence is crap now, what did you think it was when it was Ivanball bomb to Manu as our only play? Being a little harsh. We do look dangerous most of the time with ball in hand. Unlocking Melbourne's D is no easy task...
 
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mrblonde

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Defence:

I'd say that our scrambling defence has improved, but not by as much as our for want of a better way of saying it first up defence has gotten worse. TBPH I expected us to lose by more than 10 Sunday given our defence for the whole game, not counting Mr Vatuvei's brainfade.

It also helps when the opposition take the wrong options on attack BTW. Sometimes I think they don't realise their luck at beating our tackles and don't put the boot on the throat as much as they probably should.

We have really really got to improve here as frankly we look like a team that if you shut down our attack you're over halfway home because we have more holes than Swiss cheese.

Attack:

I watch every Warriors game now confident that we'll produce something in attack regularly. Not like the bad old days where it was like watching the Under 6s during the pre-game or half-time breaks where the kids pass to who ever is on their team and their arms can literally touch them. Sometimes I don't know if the team realise how good they can be on attack - the prime example being Maloney's run in the game against the Storm. It was almost is if the other Warriors couldn't believe he could do that - there was no-one he could pass to when he got collared so BANG! there went an opportunity. No other Warrior was running anywhere near him.

I'll concede that that "something on attack" doesn't produce points or a repeat set as much as it probably should. I know there's an argument about kicking the ball dead intentionally as opposed to kicking it into the in-goal and let the cards fall where they may. With the dead ball yes you give up the 20m, but you also get the 15-20 seconds to get your shit together on defence that you don't have with the in-goal kick where that damn player just will not be tackled and gets out of his in-goal. But we should be looking to press more.

Coach:

I'm not his biggest fan at present but a few wins and he'll be my BFF. He doesn't come across overly well in the few after-game interviews I've seen of him but than again the losing coach never does. They look as if they'd really just wanna get a gun and kill some xxxxingbody. And even as a winning coach, well...mumble mumble the team done good :D but let's face it, he ain't here for his media skills. Wayne Bennett, anyone?

If what his been hinted at is true, that the Warriors have concentrated on attack over the months Brian has been here, then that's well and good but you don't want to swing the pendulum too far and I suspect we may have done that.

Pleased with the players he's given chances too - Henry and Hurrell especially. Obviously the man has his favourites (Inu v Vatuvei, anyone?) and I realise that gets on people's tits at times but he is human. If I was Warriors coach, Hohaia would still be here and would possibly be captain now, for instance. Stop laughing at the back!

Ultimately, I'd give Brian the second year of his contract unless we find ourselves in a dogfight to avoid that kitchen utensil. And even with giving him that second year, if our defence doesn't improve I'd give him a severe bollocking.

Future:

Definitely Top 8. Top 5 or 6 gives us a Finals game at home and if (the most annoying word in the English language to a sports fan who's watched his team lose/botch up/screw up) we can be in top form then than who knows. My own money is on the Warriors carrying home that vaguely man-love looking trophy but if I was advising someone else I'd say "Put your money on Top 8, but not Top 4 at this stage. And therefore do not put your house on a Grand Final win. Wait until the Top 8 is confirmed and see who we're up against."

6.5 /10.
 
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Wellington Warrior

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Defense is dreadful on our own line or within 20 meters of it. We went through a period where we simply could not string a set in defense together. It's often the same players found wanting and leading the missed tackle count each week...... D

Attack.. I agree With the comments but not the rating. For me we either rely on individuals to do something (Johnson, Hurrel) or we resort to the 2009 tactic of kicking to Manu. We often look clueless on attack...... C

Coach. Very disappointed thus far. Still time to improve but his favourtisim of players is beginning to really irk me..... C
 
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ToiletDuck

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Ben Matulino is certainly our Khal Drogo, and Shaun Johnson our Khalisi... he's still coming of age, and yet to unleash his dragons upon the world.
If you're going to make those analogies, then Mannering is our Ser Jorah Mormont...

Pleased with the players he's given chances too - Henry and Hurrell especially. Obviously the man has his favourites (Inu v Vatuvei, anyone?) and I realise that gets on people's tits at times but he is human. If I was Warriors coach, Hohaia would still be here and would possibly be captain now, for instance. Stop laughing at the back!

Ultimately, I'd give Brian the second year of his contract unless we find ourselves in a dogfight to avoid that kitchen utensil. And even with giving him that second year, if our defence doesn't improve I'd give him a severe bollocking.

Haha, not sure if serious re Lance? Captain as a utility off the bench? I do miss Lance though, I just don't miss him at fullback. As for Bluey, there's no way I'd axe him after 1 season regardless of the result. It's his first season in the NRL, and he'll be learning. It's still a young squad, in theory their best years are ahead of them. If this year turns to shit, I'm sure (well....I'd hope) he would learn from it and do things differently next season. But yeah, if we did finish in the bottom 4 or 5, you'd have to consider that a massive failure.
 
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Tim burgess

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Comments s fair reflection of the season thus far.

Missing key experience players has certainly impacted performances purely for leadership qualities and yes Kevin locke.

Bluey has a lot to prove but has bring hamstrung by injuries, lack of form of some experience players ie. Manu and replacements being young and experienced. Hopes for rest of season are to make top eight, which I think is achievable, just but next two weeks will be acid test against panthers and sharks.

Happy with the way young players have stepped up.
 
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