General Never a better time for the Warriors to strike

warriors4life_old

Guest
From nzherald.co.nz

By Chris Rattue

Can the Warriors strike while the ire is hot?

Just as importantly, will events of the last week de-stabilise Cronulla or will they bring their players closer together?

Cronulla coach Stuart Raper has already conceded his squad is "rattled" by the sacking of Kiwi Tevita Latu this week, and that it has also robbed the Sharks of a key strike weapon.

The sharp-running Latu had become a growing force, particularly as an interchange dummy half.

Disruptions like this are a bit like rule changes in sport. You can try to guess the outcome, yet they can often have the opposite effect to what might be expected.

However, in this case, cracks are showing. Kiwi veteran Nigel Vagana criticised Cronulla's sacking of Latu as hasty and harsh and has in turn been asked to explain his comments by Cronulla bosses.

Cronulla showed plenty of heart in their failed comeback against the Bulldogs on Sunday, just hours before Latu punched a woman and almost certainly ended his professional league career.

They are down on power and experience though, having lost prop Ben Ross for the season and with veteran forward battler Lance Thompson and five-eighth Adam Dykes sidelined this week.

Ross' demise has given Taranaki product James Stosic, a former Junior Kiwi and Canberra Raider, his chance this season. Cronulla have not settled on a new halves combination either. Vagana played there two weeks ago against Canberra, and now former Rabbitoh Brett Kearney is in the No 6 jersey.

With Latu also out of the picture, it looks like the ideal time for the Warriors to strike.

The Auckland side made a late change to their lineup yesterday, with big wing Manu Vatuvei withdrawn because of a hamstring problem.

Todd Byrne goes straight on to the wing as his replacement, in effect another snub for test back Clinton Toopi who has failed to make the travelling squad and appears well on the outer with coach Ivan Cleary.

Toopi's career reached a nadir two rounds ago against St George Illawarra. Rather than set the tone as a 100-plus game veteran on big wages should, he is as erratic as ever. Toopi's performances are unduly influenced by events around him.

He is set to claim English riches after this season, but Cleary may have already decided to invest elsewhere.

NZ Warriors v Cronulla
Shark Park, 9.30 tonight

CRONULLA
David Simmons
Darren Albert
Nigel Vagana
Phil Bailey
Luke Covell
Brett Kearney
Brett Kimmorley (c)
James Stosic
Luke Douglas
Reece Williams
Greg Bird
Paul Gallen
Interchange: Richard Villasanti, Matt Hilder, Beau Scott, Tony Caine, Hutch Maiava.

WARRIORS
Brent Webb
Todd Byrne
Tony Martin
Simon Mannering
Misi Taulapapa
Jerome Ropati
Grant Rovelli
Ruben Wiki
Nathan Fien
Steve Price (c)
Awen Guttenbeil
Wairangi Koopu
Sione Faumuina
Interchange: George Gatis, Evarn Tuimavave, Louis Anderson, Michael Luck, Sam Rapira.
 

warriors4life_old

Guest
I agree, with all the troubles at the Sharks at the moment and the key players missing, if we don't win tonight it would be a great disappoinment.
 

Pacific_old

Guest
I agree 100%. After last week's performance against the Tigers my expectations of the Warriors for the remainder of the season have gone up a ouple of notches. I think Cleary has found the right mix of players and the players themselves have acquired the right attitude to play this simple game of ours.

The Sharks don't have the firepower with some of key players missing. So I'm expecting another good win.
 

KeepingTheFaith_old

Guest
I'd rather play a full strength team, but you can only play what's put in front of you. Come on Warriors ram the advantage home.
 

Sinbad_old

Guest
MMM remeber the dragons game ? Second string team , out of form, and we got our heads handed to us.

I think if we let it, the game will slip away. We do have the form and skill to win. The question is the old one "which team will turn up to play?"
 

Tevita_Latu_old

Guest
i don't think it'll be that easy, history tells us teams that are backed into a corner are usually the most dangerous
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
Tevita_Latu said:
i don't think it'll be that easy, history tells us teams that are backed into a corner are usually the most dangerous

Personally, I don't care what the circumstances are. Never take your opposition for granted. Second string or not
 

sebastian_old

Guest
Sinbad said:
MMM remeber the dragons game ? Second string team , out of form, and we got our heads handed to us.

I think if we let it, the game will slip away. We do have the form and skill to win. The question is the old one "which team will turn up to play?"

I agree but toopi lost us that particular game,every one else played well, hey we were 8-0 at one stage. He let in two trys in 5 mins.
 

KeepingTheFaith_old

Guest
Like I said, I'd rather play a full strength team. The Warriors always lift for tough opposition but when they're expected to win they lower themselves to the standard they're up against.

It's probably just a fear of embarassment that stops us doing it when we play souths.
 

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