General Warriors/Kiwi Collaborative Development Thread

As everyone knows, the Warriors will have the Kiwi 1, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13 & 14 until the end of 2018 (Mutts, Shaun Johnson and TL till 2017). Considering the individual and collective form of these players, this is, quite obviously, HUGE news for the Warriors regarding our chances of winning our maiden premiership in the next 3 years. It also speaks to the potential for some Kiwi dominance in the test arena in the years to come. However, imho, this Warriors/Kiwi synergy (especially regarding our spine) represents so much more than just a boost to the Warriors chances of breaking our premiership drought (though winning premierships is, of course, ALWAYS the primary goal) and the Kiwis chances of collecting more silverware (ditto primary immediate goal).

What I'm talking about isn't so much the short-term, yet crucial, goal of winning games and comps, but rather the opportunity this club-level convergence of Kiwi awesomeness might provide to both the Warriors and Kiwis in the area of player and culture development. With almost half the Kiwis run on side at the Warriors for years to come, including 3/4 of our spine and the Kiwi captain, we (by which I mean the Warriors and Kiwis) seem to have a rare and valuable window to focus on elite junior development in a cohesive environment. Imagine a development squad of x2 16-20 year old fullbacks, halfbacks and hookers (6 total) having the opportunity to learn under Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Luke (our very own big 3) together. Imagine how easily the Warriors could themselves host War/Kiwi clinics, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Manu and Shaun Johnson mentoring promising backs and Luke, Mutts and Manners doing the same with promising young forwards. If such a junior development group hasn't been identified yet, and clinics like this aren't planed yet, they should be. If money (from both the Warriors and NZRL) hasn't been ear marked for it, it needs to be (what about this Trust that Glen's putting together). Doyle could be just the sort of ambitious far-thinking person to put something like this in place, imo.

I'm sure a development program (across club and Kiwis juniors) already exists, but my point is we'd be insane not to recognise the War/Kiwi convergence as a big opportunity that we should be looking to take advantage of by further investing in and streamlining our development program. Hell, we could call it the 'Kiwi Academy', partner up with an elite junior sports institute if necessary, get corporate sponsorship, have NZRL run it and pay the Warriors players as national sports ambassadors or some such (clearing it with NRL audit central first, of course). A big problem is that a system like this excludes non-local juniors and Kiwis who play at other clubs, but maybe clinics could be run in NSW/Qld/Vic by Kiwi players at clubs there for promising NZ juniors from those states. An even bigger problem might be other clubs seeing such an initiative as a Warriors poaching front. Tbh, I'm not sure what could be done about this. It might be fatal to such an initiative being accepted by other clubs. If Aussie clubs refuse to allow NZ eligable juniors to participate, then screw those clubs, make it a strictly War/NZRL affair run in NZ, and use it and our Kiwi star pulling power to poach those juniors in exactly the way Aus teams think we'd be doing anyway. I wonder if Doyle has a line to the managers of the Junior Kiwis spine players, Isaako, Martin, Docker-Clay and Katoa. Hmm.

*I get that some of what I've mentioned is far-fetched or might be impossible for practical reasons. While those elements might dismissed as 'dreaming', the overall fact that we'll have an amazing opportunity represented by the club convergence of so many key Kiwi players remains. How best should the Warriors/NZRL take advantage of this opportunity?
I don't think there needs to be a formal callobaration as you put it between the Warriors and the NZRL. The NYC competition is the best thing to happen to rugby league in New Zealand it's no coincidence that since the NYC competition started the Kiwis have started to develop more depth and are more competitive on the field as a result. So I think there is no need for a 'Kiwi academy.'

Also as much as it would be good to have all the best junior Kiwi talent at the Warriors it would be counter productive for both the player and the Kiwis. Of the names you listed I would say their are much better young Kiwi hookers then Katoa in Danny Levi and Manaia Cherrington.

Also starting last year the NZRL had a game at the end of the year where a New Zealand residents side played a NSW residents side made up of Kiwi eligible players. This was at under level 18. Hopefully this is expanded to include a Queensland residents side made up of Kiwi eligible side as well resulting in a tri series of sorts hopefully this initiative can occur at under 16 level as well.

Furthermore a few years ago the NZRL ran 'Kiwi Roots' camps in Sydbey Melbourne and Brisbane for young Kiwi eligible players where they learned what it meant to be a Kiwi with senior and retired Kiwi players such as Benji Marshall and Reuben Wiki been mentors and helping to run the camps. I have no idea if these camps still occur but I would hope so.

Another initiative I would like the NZRL to implement and where I see Queensland and NSW and therefore Australia having an advantage is how the QRL and the NSWRL every year release a list of emerging QLD and NSW eligible players at under 20 and NRL level. I believe this is something the NZRL should also do. By recognising and letting Kiwi eligible players know that they are under consideration for possible future rep selection it would help to avoid a Tim Simona situation who is currently eligible for the Kiwis Toa Samoa and Auatralia. He has stated that his prefrence would be to play for the Kiwis but if Australia and NSW approached him about playing for them first he would have to give it serious consideration.
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Totally agree about the NYC and I like the idea of the tri-residents series. Love the idea of an annual emerging talent release. However, none of this ties into the increased concentration of key Kiwi players in the Warriors and how this might be worked to Warrior/Kiwi advantage.

Culturally, I suppose what I'm talking about is akin to the 'Kiwi Roots' camps, with up-and-comers being mentored by current Kiwi starts (not so much retired). Imo, these sort of clinics shouldn't be a 1 in every 3 year occurrence, but a yearly occurrence. I think the concentration of key Kiwi players at one club makes this a more practical possibility, especially if the NZRL gets in to help.

I'm also talking about combo development. The Kiwis should obviously benefit from having so many of our national players playing together on a weekly basis, especially our spine. If we can identify a couple of young and talented 1s, 7s and 9s and have them do brief bi-monthly skills sessions/Q&A exercises with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Luke, we're strengthening the relationships between our junior players and fast tracking their footy education. From a Warriors perspective, I guess these players would preferably be the 1s, 7s and 9s from our Holden and NSW Cup teams, but there's less point in doing it with older journeymen players from NSW Cup, so maybe it could be targetted towards 16-22 yr olds.

Maybe I'm seeing an opportunity that just isn't there, but I'd hate to be wondering in 5 years why our tight knit senior squad hasn't translated into a tight night junior squad that is nipping at the older boys heels. If, when Luke, Manners, the Beast are gone, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson, Mutts are elder statesmen, we don't have the next generation of Warriors and Kiwis primed to kick Aussie butt, we might rue not being more serious about taking such opportunities when they presented themselves.

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