General NRL Season Preview + Regular Season Finish Poll

Where will we finish the Regular Season?


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https://www.nrl.com/warriors-2014-season-preview/tabid/10874/newsid/76480/default.aspx

Has one of the most attacking, eclectic and inconsistent sides in the NRL finally found the formula for premiership success?

The Warriors finished strongly last season, lifting themselves to 11th after being equal last on points as late as Round 12.

It was a slow start to Matt Elliott's tenure as head coach but by the end of his first year in charge of the club, players and coach seemed to be starting to gel.

The signs have been furiously positive over the pre-season, insofar as you can read anything into trial form and/or Nines form.The Warriors launched an attacking blitzkrieg at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines that seemed to have them on track for the title until the resolute Cowboys found a way to hold them out, and that attacking flair was on show again in a 48-4 demolition of Brisbane in the side's final trial.

One of the best signs – among many positive signs – for the Warriors is the instant combination between Kiwi Test half Shaun Johnson and high-profile recruit, English Test custodian Sam Tomkins. Equally promising is the form of a host of attacking youngsters, many of whom could be set to light up the NRL in 2014.

Gains:
Sam Tomkins (Wigan),
Jayson Bukuya (Sharks),
Chad Townsend (Sharks).

Losses:
Elijah Taylor (Panthers),
Steve Rapira (Salford Red Devils),
Russell Packer (Knights),
Todd Lowrie (Broncos),
Sio Siua Taukeiaho (Roosters),
Bill Tupou (Raiders),
Pita Godinet (Wakefield).

How They'll Play It
If the early signs are anything to go by, it will be all-out attack from the 2014 Warriors. The shrewd recruitment of underrated former Sharks half Chad Townsend and the major coup, the signature of Tomkins, means Elliott seems to have the perfect blend of flair and control in the key 1-6-7 positions. A pack of robust and mobile forwards will lay the platform; with Johnson playing off the cuff, Townsend (or Thomas Leuluai) keeping things calm and Tomkins chiming in with quality support options, the Warriors have a very dangerous look about them. Throw in half a dozen or more potent outside backs with blistering pace, ball skills and size and strength to boot, and the Warriors will trouble plenty of good teams in 2014.

Expect HUGE Things From
Sam Tomkins. The 24-year-old former Man of Steel and Super League premiership winner looks to have taken no time at all to acclimatise to his new surrounds, if the pre-season is anything to go by. He could prove the perfect foil for the enigmatic Johnson. A ball-playing fullback capable of providing attacking options playing up in the line, his presence gives the Warriors a whole other dimension to their attack.

Bonus Points
One of the biggest and most fertile breeding grounds for rugby league or rugby union talent, youngsters from across the ditch increasingly look to be turning to the 13-a-side game. We got a glimpse during the Nines, but if you aren't yet familiar with names like Solomone Kata, Tui Lolohea, David Fusitua and Raymond Faitala-Mariner, keep an eye out – because you soon will be. Slightly more established players Glen Fisiiahi, Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Carlos Tuimavave have provided a template for the new batch of attacking youngsters to follow.

The Question Marks
The biggest question hanging over the Warriors in 2014 could be: what is your 'Plan B'? Yes the Nines is a whole other ball game but the Cowboys showed the way to frustrate the Warriors, and if that translates over to the NRL, the Warriors could struggle to penetrate the best defensive sides, especially in big games. If the Roosters defend the way they did last year, all the attacking flair the Warriors possess may crumble in the face of a perfect sliding defence and un-crackable line.

Positionally the big questions are: what happens to Kevin Locke now that Tomkins seems set to play fullback? Will he be shunted to the wing or the bench, or end up moving on? And can Townsend displace Leuluai in the halves, potentially bumping him to a bench utility role?

Who Needs To Lift?
Those enigmatic attacking players like Johnson and Feleti Mateo need to bring the quality of their worst games somewhere up closer to the quality of their best games. Currently those players can either be 'on' or 'off', and when they're off, the whole team seems to fall apart. It's what sets them aside from the most consistent sides – Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry-Evans just don't have bad games. Johnson easily topped the NRL for errors last season with 35 (next was Jorge Taufua's 32, and next among playmakers was Johnathan Thurston's 27) while Mateo managed just one try and three try assists in 24 games. These guys need to be at their best every week – not every second or third week – for the Warriors to be a force.

How's Their Depth?
The Warriors bat deep in 2014. The above-mentioned youngsters will put mountains of pressure on the established first-graders, especially in the back row and back five, and the versatility of players like Tomkins and Leuluai give Elliott a few options in key positions.

NRL Fantasy Bankers
Shaun Johnson ($371,700) can put on immense scores on his day if you can put up with the odd sub-20 score, and Nathan Friend's ($357,000) defensive workrate makes him a more consistent option. Konrad Hurrell ($294,300) is also capable of the odd monster score while Sam Tomkins ($280,400) could well turn out to be a great value pickup if his pre-season involvement is anything to go by.

The Coach
Elliott came into the role under fairly difficult circumstances following the sacking of Brian McClennan in late 2012, with since-departed backrower Elijah Taylor saying the players wanted caretaker Tony Iro for the top job. As mentioned the early signs were poor, and the floundering Warriors struggled badly at the start of Elliott's tenure. There have been far more positive signs since, but another slow start to the season will quickly heap pressure on Elliott's shoulders.

Under-20s
The junior Warriors progressed from a sixth-place finish in 2013 to scrape past the Rabbitohs in the first week of the finals before blowing the Roosters and Bulldogs off the park with successive half-century scores, before going down to the Panthers in the Holden Cup decider. The good news for 2014 is that a few of the young stars who excelled at the Nines – Fusitua, Lolohea and Kata –all still qualify for the NYC so barring a call-up to the top grade for those guys, pencil in the Warriors NYC side for another strong campaign this year.

Predicted Finish
Can they live up to the hype? The Warriors seem the most likely of 2013's non-finals sides to earn a top-eight berth this year. In fact they could be, along with the Cowboys, the best-placed of any team to break into the top four past Sydney, Souths, Manly and Melbourne. We don't think they'll go quite that far but the top eight looks well within them – fifth or sixth in 2014.

Strongest 17

1. Sam Tomkins.
2. Kevin Locke/Glen Fisiiahi.
3. Konrad Hurrell.
4. Dane Nielsen.
5. Manu Vatuvei.
6. Chad Townsend.
7. Shaun Johnson.
8. Ben Matulino.
9. Nathan Friend.
10. Sam Rapira.
11. Simon Mannering.
12. Jayson Bukuya.
13. Feleti Mateo.

14. Thomas Leuluai.
15. Jacob Lillyman.
16. Ben Henry.
17. Suaia Matagi.
 
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I agree with them, 5th or 6th is where I reckon we'll end up.

I also think they've probably gone pretty damn close to nailing our full strength side.
 
Just added a Poll and the article Link.

I pretty much agree with their run-down, except I think we will bust 3rd. Optimism reign supreme!
 
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Top two finish for us.
I expect us to smash most of the teams on our weak side of the draw putting us in a Minor prems race between the top four.
highly likely the same top four teams from last year will be in that same race again.
They will kill each other off on the strong side of the draw and I rate our chances on a high against Melbourne , Roosters , Rabbitohs........Manly not so much.
 
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First. I think we will finish in the top 4, maybe 3rd better off 4th.

Second. Again according to stats that I put out last week, in our first ten games we need to be at least win 80% of our games if we are going to make the Top 8. So therefore our first ten games will show us if we are ready for the Top 8 let alone Top 4.

So let's have a look in a nutshell at our first ten games.

Round 1: vs the Eels in Sydney - A lot has already been said that we don't tend to start the season well. Well in order to make the top 10 we need to win this game. I'm choosing we will. Win #1.

Round 2: vs the Dragons in Auckland - Eden Park - Without Dugan the Dragons are inspiredless. Therefore we need to win this game. I'm thinking we will. - Win #2.

Round 3: vs the Cowboys - in Townsville - This maybe our game that we will trip up. I hope not, but if they get a way to a strong start their forwards will grind us down - I'm not so worried about dropping this game, only that we need to learn from our loss for the next time we play them which maybe better in the finals. So 1st Loss.

Round 4: vs the Tigers - in Wellington - I'll be at this game, so can't wait. I think we will come back from a loss against the Cowboys to trounce the Tigers as they are on a improving year - They won't be able to stop us. So Win #3.

Round 5: vs the Sharks - In Sydney - We need an away win, if Carney is playing it'll be close, if not I think we have this. I'm picking a close battle, that we may just win. So Win #4.

Round 6: vs the Bulldogs - Auckland - The last few years the Bulldogs tend to get us playing bad, they did in Wellington last year (I was at that game), we lost it the last 10 minutes. I thin we may drop this game. So Loss #2.

Round 7: vs the Dragons in Sydney - (2nd time in 6 weeks) - Dugan will be out until Round 10. There fore we need to win in Sydney. And I sure hope we do. I'm picking it'll be our 5th Win. Win #5

Round 8: vs the Storm - in Melbourne - (our Traditional Anzac Day game) - These games are always doozies the anzac day games between these two teams, and I think we may have the fire power to beat the Storm this time around. Win #6

Round 9: vs the Raiders - in Auckland - We need to beat the Raiders here as we have a terrible record in Canberra last 10 years. So therefore a must win and we can. Win #7.

Round 10: vs the Bulldogs - in Hamilton - Their home game. We need to show up for this, and on the back 3 wins, our confidence will be up. Win #8.


So if my predictions are true after 10 Rounds we would have 8 Wins 2 Losses. That will put us deep in the Top 8, like in the Top 4, and we need to stay there.

I still think we can make the top 8 if we have 6 Wins 4 Loss record. But any lower and I don't think we will judging on past stats.
 
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tajhay

🏉
Sorry to be a pessimist, but im ignoring that broncos trial from calculations. Broncos are a rabble and will be shit this year. Their only saving grace is that they get 11 friday games in a row to have a consistent buildup to the games.

Warriors i believe will finish around 5-8. I dont think this team can miss the 8, Unless some major catastrophe hits i.e. long term injury to key spine player/players. Obviously ill be hoping we win every game, but we all have been on this rollercoaster long enough to know that we have rarely finished on the side of the ladder that many have predicted before the start of the year.
 
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eudebrito

|-|
Contributor
5,6,7 something like that, score a bunch of points, but there will be games it won't click, and always a chance of a couple of "couldn't be arsed" performances too.

Willing to predict a strong for and against this year, gonna be some hidings dished out to the weaker defensive teams by the mighty warriors.
 
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I went for 3-4 as an eternal Wariors optimist! realistically though i think 6-7. Whilst this team has the potential to have an outstanding season, the cliche about the Warriors only consistancy being inconsistancy is true for a reason.....

Mateo has to step up this season and i think he will. Hopefully hes been watching SBW and realises how a x-factor 2nd rower should stand up and be counted. Happy to have Louisi back, picking massive things from him. Solid buys in Bukuya and Townsend.

I hope we dont fall over is relying too heavily on the Shaun Johnson/ST combination, early signs are that it should go well but if it isnt working then we have worked on other options, i.e. that we dont resort to these 2 in a 'kick it to Manu' type desperation play as we have no other clue.....offensively if teams are waiting for these 2 to do something that this will create gaps/options for our other 'playmakers'.

Personally i would love for the Fish to come to the fore and finally show the potential we know he has.

We go into the season with a strong top side and with the likes of TL and Locke stll to come....when both are back fully we will have great experienced utility depth.

Its going to be a long 10 days!
 
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I went 3-4. We have the ingredients to seriously challenge this year.
Three smart signings and have shed some excess weight. From my perspective the team looks healthy, happy and confident. I can't see us finishing out of the eight unless we get done for salary cap (unlikely) or Ele juice (the boys don't need em). Finances are solid which is always a good thing.
There are a lot of teams who would envy us at the moment. I think we can afford a bit of optimism.
I look forward the riding with such learned students of the game.

Regulators! Mount up!
 
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I went 3-4. We have the ingredients to seriously challenge this year.
Three smart signings and have shed some excess weight. From my perspective the team looks healthy, happy and confident. I can't see us finishing out of the eight unless we get done for salary cap (unlikely) or Ele juice (the boys don't need em). Finances are solid which is always a good thing.
There are a lot of teams who would envy us at the moment. I think we can afford a bit of optimism.
I look forward the riding with such learned students of the game.

Regulators! Mount up!

You sure you're on the right site?
 
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mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
I went number 1! No rhyme or reason. Its what I always believe every year regardless of the team list, coach, preseason, etc. Its what I have to believe or why else buy the memberships, jerseys, read the papers or even come on this forum?

Warriors year this year. Im almost sure of it...
 
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I went number 1! No rhyme or reason. Its what I always believe every year regardless of the team list, coach, preseason, etc. Its what I have to believe or why else buy the memberships, jerseys, read the papers or even come on this forum?

Warriors year this year. Im almost sure of it...
You're like Janfin predicting the Warriors by six every game year in year out , across the Forums. The kind of consistency the Warriors are looking for !
 
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barring no injuries to the likes of Tomkins, Johnson, Mannering, Friend, Neilson, Townsend, I have us at 5-6.

if history has taught me one thing, its to never set the bar/rope too high for fear of choking.
 
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If we put too much emphasis on the Brisbane game we could come unstuck. The Tomkins Townsend Shaun Johnson combo will take a little time to settle in. I personally think the Eels match will be a 'grind out' win. That is fine though and that is what wins comps. Grinding out wins that could easily be losses.

I think the Warriors have a great chance, 5-8 is my head, top 4 my heart. I am more confident hearing that defence has been the pre season priority
 

Far Away Fan

Guest
There is an article on theroar.com.au this morning solely about the Warriors which predicts great things for us this year.

"The signs have been furiously positive..."

"Warriors fans should be getting very excited at this point."

It predicts a no. 3 finish, with Shaun Johnson pushing for the Dally M medal and Koni our top try-scorer.
 
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There is an article on theroar.com.au this morning solely about the Warriors which predicts great things for us this year.

"The signs have been furiously positive..."

"Warriors fans should be getting very excited at this point."

It predicts a no. 3 finish, with Shaun Johnson pushing for the Dally M medal and Koni our top try-scorer.
They are doomed
 
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Buck777

Guest
I think we'll finish top 4 ( similar to the 9's)
I base that on hope, the fact that we have a good spine, a good preseason ( I believe the 9's was a big injection- especially strengthening the combination between Shaun Johnson and Tomkins), and that there seem to be a couple of teams that are on the rebuild or will fade.
 
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Watched the replay of last years Storm game at Mt Smart, biggest home crowd of the season , high expectations ( string of wins good performance over the Rabbits ) positive pressure.
It's very clear in that game that we play a frenetic stilted stilted style. The first Try of the game is a mirror of the Block play with the Fullback out the back that Tomkins ended up basket balling the ball over the top for Fish to score....with some telling key differences.

Storm Game break down of a set Move backdoor block play :

Mannering runs off Johnsons shoulder ( the block runner ) , Johnson selects a pass out the back door to Locke
Locke throws a ball that Hurrell juggles to catch on his hip
Hurrell throws the final pass to Laumape who spins around on the spot so that he catches the ball facing his own goal line i shit u not.
Ngani manages to catch the ball spin 180 degrees and score.

Broncos Trial , the Identical set play:
Bukuya runs off Johnsons Shoulder (block runner) Johnson throws the ball out the Back to Tomkins
So far identical.
Tomkins Runs across his centers line instead of passing early , in traffic he basketballs it to Fisiahi
Try in the corner.

One looks amazing footy because people catch impossible balls at speed.

The other he look like Mantis.
 
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