General Warriors Rnd 6 Evaluation

Are you happy with the Warriors overall effort?

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Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
Mt. Wellington, Auckland
NRL: Lots to improve on to justify the hype

By Michael Burgess
5:30 AM Sunday Apr 21, 2013

One win from six equals the Warriors' worst start to an NRL season in the club's 19-year history. Photo / Getty Images

The rebuild was always going to take time but it wasn't meant to be like this. The Warriors are second-to-last after just one win in six games. It represents the equal worst start in the club's 19-year history.

Only once before, in 2004, did the club statistically match the early results of this season. It's worse than the terrible years of 1999 and 2000, when players' wages went unpaid and the coaches had to pluck players from the Auckland club competition. It's worse than the 1998 season when the club finished 15th of 20 teams, and so far is worse than the 2009 season, when the club won seven games to finish third-from-bottom.

Warriors fans are used to ups and downs and there is a core renowned for their loyalty but the current situation is testing the patience of many. This wasn't what was expected after all the hype coming into 2013, with Eric Watson's words ("biggest single sporting franchise in Australasia") still echoing in our ears. At the moment, the Warriors are being compared with the miserable Mystics and hapless Highlanders.

There isn't much respite, with a match in Melbourne on Thursday followed by the visits of the Titans and Bulldogs.

The top eight seems a long way away. However, there is some hope and reasons to stay loyal.

What has improved

This side of the game is definitely better in 2013. There is a discernible structure and more steel; with the weight of Canberra's possession in the second half last week, the score might have ballooned out to 50 last year. There were strong defensive periods against the Roosters, Cowboys and Souths. Now, if only these could be extended to 80 minutes...

This is a marginal call but the team looks slightly fitter than last year. They finished strongly against the Cowboys and Rabbbitohs and showed resilience against the Raiders, even allowing for the flood of late mistakes. Concern remains over afternoon games in the heat across the Tasman (Eels and Sharks).

Off-field support
Where former coach Brian McClennan could count his total staff on one hand, Elliott has enough to form an entire team. Two assistant coaches and half a dozen engaged in high performance as well as other specialists means that more bases can be covered and should pay dividends in the long run.

While injury limited his options, McClennan made a habit of unusual selections or last-minute switches. Elliott has maintained a more consistent line and has been rewarded for some brave calls, with Pita Godinet and Ngani Laumape adapting swiftly to life in the NRL.

Partly thanks to McClennan's blooding of Konrad Hurrell, Ben Henry, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Carlos Tuimavave among others, Elliott has options in many positions, creating genuine competition for places. This should drive performance upwards as the year progresses.

What has yet to improve

Desire and will to win
It's easy to be simplistic but not enough of the current squad seem to want to die for the cause compared to their NRL counterparts. Attitude was one of the major problems when things went south late last year and many of those involved are still at Mt Smart. If there has been an attitude makeover over the off-season, it isn't completely evident yet. Elliott has talked repeatedly of changing the DNA of the club - "We have identified an issue and it's something that's in our past," Elliott said after the heavy round one loss at Parramatta. "It is something that is in the furniture here, it has got to change and it will change." Any changes thus far have been only cosmetic.

Attacking structure
There have been moments of genuine flair and attacking verve in the six games this year but nothing resembling a sea change, though the second half against Souths felt like a return to the glory days. Fifth tackle options have been poorly executed and the Warriors are still too easy to read in possession.

Awareness and urgency
Probably the area most in need of examination. Whether it is a kick chase, defending a bomb, pursuing a bomb or grubber, or making a support run, the Warriors are too often second to arrive or react. Watch the Storm and their players are almost always where they should be, whereas the sight of a Warrior making a half-break and looking back in vain for a support runner is all too common. In a competition as closely fought as the NRL, that can be all it takes to make the difference.

Avoiding hype
As much as some hype is unavoidable - to sell tickets and give sponsors their return - the best form of publicity is results. The Breakers owners have barely spoken a word in public over the last few years but are obviously doing everything right behind the scenes. A lot of the hype this year has been unnecessary - whether it has been detailing the UFC background of one of the trainers or unveiling the new oxygen chambers at the gym. It reached a nadir last Saturday night with the sight of Russell Packer plugged into the 'core cooling units' on the sideline. They looked like oversized oven gloves that George Lucas might have designed and had the Australian television commentators incredulous on a cold Canberra night.

Still awful. Pick the worst possible time to make a mistake you have never made before and the Warriors seem to find it. Most of the time it's impossible to criticise the effort but opposition teams are constantly let back into the contest. Last week's defeat retained the habit of frustrating, near-impossible losses on the eve of a break, after harrowing losses to the Tigers and Sharks preceding bye rounds last year.

Influencing referees
As much as Terry Campese's constant moaning was painful last week, there is no doubt that it was effective. A 6-1 penalty count was strange in a comparatively even game and as much as the Warriors were guilty of loose carries in the last 20 minutes, the Raiders were equally complicit in their concealed steals. It was a similar situation with some game-changing calls against the Rabbitohs. Captain Mannering has improved his communication with referees but has yet to reach the persuasive abilities of past leaders like Steve Price and Kevin Campion.

It was there in 2011, with the bounce for Krisnan Inu's miraculous try against the Tigers changing the complexion of the season. It seemed completely absent last year, both in the horrific run of injuries and also some crazy on-field occurrences - particularly the freakish bounce off Kieran Foran's chip that set up Manly's killer last-minute try in Perth. Fortune has yet to turn in 2013 as a staggering 18 NRL players have been injured thus far, including key men such as Nathan Friend, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Rapira and Dane Nielsen.

Let's remember ...
The NRL is a ruthless competition, probably the most competitive of any sporting code on the planet. For all of their disappointments, the Warriors have a better NRL finals record over the past decade than most other clubs and have a good track record of rebounding from disastrous campaigns. "We've been to some hard places this year," said Micheal Luck in his farewell speech last year. "But hard places breed hard men and hard men win the NRL."

What they said

On July 19 last year, the Warriors convened a special press conference at Sky City. Owners Eric Watson and Owen Glenn held court, alongside chairman Bill Wavish.

Also in attendance was general manager Dean Bell, CEO Wayne Scurrah, former coach Brian McClennan and other club officials.

Many off-field initiatives were announced, including the formation of a Warriors' charitable trust, the upgrading of training, sports science, medical, talent identification, IT and other team support facilities, a Warriors' championship for Auckland secondary schools first XIIIs and an increased merchandise range.

Much of the above has been put in place but it was the announcements made regarding on-field performance that raised eyebrows at the time.

• "We want this club to become the best single sporting franchise in Australasia, taking it to levels never seen before in this part of the world." - Eric Watson
• "This is a conscious effort to significantly raise the bar for the Warriors as a club and as a brand." - Eric Watson
• "Our clear goal is to win multiple championships and to be a top sporting franchise in Australasia. These initiatives we are announcing today will pave the way for an era of unprecedented growth in the club's on-field success, profile and community presence. It's about setting the highest possible standards and ensuring our players have all they need to perform to optimal levels." - Bill Wavish
• "Everyone involved in the Warriors and in rugby league should be more excited about the future than ever. We definitely are." - Eric Watson

What they did

Warriors results since that press conference on July 19, 2012

2012 season
Played 7, lost 7
Points scored per match: 14
Points conceded per match: 35
Lost to Knights 19-24
Lost to Sea Eagles 22-24
Lost to Sharks 4-45
Lost to Cowboys 12-52
Lost to Panthers 16-18
(Coach Brian McLennan sacked, Tony Iro appointed caretaker coach)
Lost to Dragons 6-38
Lost to Raiders 22-42

2013 season
(Coach Matt Elliott appointed)
Played 6, won 1, lost 5
Points scored per match: 14
Points conceded per match: 24
Lost to Eels 10-40
Lost to Roosters 14-16
Lost to Sharks 4-28
Beat Cowboys 20-18
Lost to Souths 22-24
Lost to Raiders 16-20

Overall: Played 13, won 1, lost 12.

Next match: vs Melbourne Storm, Anzac Day
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1st Grade Fringe
May 19, 2012
End of the day the only thing that really matters is results.
1 win, not good enough.
I blame the players and only the players.

Raurimu Massive

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 26, 2012
Firmly in the "sort-of" camp. Really tempted to click "yes", but it was solely results that stopped me. I've seen as many signs of progress as I'd hoped for this year, but it looks like some of the mental rot is more firmly entrenched than I imagined. Elliott is in a bit of a Catch-22 situation - he knows that losses are inevitable while he's getting things to change in the players' mentality, but he knows that a string of losses will make it harder to change the mentality.

I've seen some things in the way we play that really gave me hope that things would change quicker than I first expected, but now I'm thinking this season will be about the players learning to play with structure, and expect the wheels to fall off every now and then. I'm guilty of expecting them to have a collective epiphany and suddenly 'get it'.
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Warriors 1st Grader
May 7, 2012
1 from 6 is not good enough.

Bluey broke the team, we have a new coach, the new players are still adapting to the systems, we're in a rebuild phase.. I dont care for any of these excuses. Ive had enough of the excuses.
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1st Grade Fringe
May 18, 2012
"No" from me.
I am happy with Elliot's efforts.
I am not happy with the players' efforts. It's the simple shit that's letting us down and turning close victories into close losses. They need to sort their individual efforts out.


1st Grade Fringe
May 18, 2012
on radio sport today the host mentioned there is a rumour circulating atm that ackland and elliot dont get on and ackland may be gone by the end of the year

Any rumours as to exactly WHY? Could it be Elliot has a different philosophy for the NYC team?[DOUBLEPOST=1366592685][/DOUBLEPOST]
Maybe it's because Elliot would like the U20s to play with some structure and not just rely on superior size and strength?

I bloody hope so. If losing Ackland would adjust this, I'd happily see him go.


Warriors 1st Grader
Jan 2, 2013
Any rumours as to exactly WHY? Could it be Elliot has a different philosophy for the NYC team?[DOUBLEPOST=1366592685][/DOUBLEPOST]

I bloody hope so. If losing Ackland would adjust this, I'd happily see him go.

I think Acland has had a good run and has done a good job. However it doesn't appear much structure is taught there. That is what is holding the Warriors back. I wouldn't want to lose him totally as he appears to have a good eye for talent, so he could do talent ID. I would also like to see someone with a union/league background help identify young talent from Union in the regional areas. Maybe someone like Barnett or Halligan. IMO we need to identify halves in particular and the talent in the regions is there if it can be identified early. 1st XV stage is best.

Taking into account a casualty list that rivals Stalingrad I am reasonably comfortable where things sit in FG. Expectations are rising and on field structures are better. I want to see a 50/50 result rate for next 6.


1st Grade Fringe
May 19, 2012
I was tempted to hit 'sort of' but wtf for? We've accepted mediocrity for so long it's almost second nature, in fact mediocre is probably flattering to describe this season so far!

So my answer is NO, I'm not happy with the effort we've shown after 6 rounds, looking back at some of the teams that beat us and how we lost, the Eels........ was just an embarrassment, the Sharks......... was just a gutless capitulation, the Raiders.......... was just dumbarse stupidity!

I suppose I could have used some other words and terms that we've become accustomed to and accepted over the years......... ill-discipline, inexperience, injuries, lack of depth, the heat, the cold, the humidity, the time zone, the coach, the captain, the refs, the penalty count! But to what end? We're a professional Rugby League club in the best and toughest comp there is and we look like a bunch of 2nd rate muppets! None of these excuses are good enough for some of the tripe we dish out!

I think the best game we played so far was against the Bunnies, even though we lost I thought we played better than the week before against the Cowboys and won, that probably says more about the Cowboys than us, but there were clear signs in both those games of a change in strategy in the coaching dept, the structure was there for even the least educated fans to see, the depth in the back line on attack was like a revelation, I'm happy that we're heading in the right direction coaching wise, player wise I'm not happy with individual efforts!
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Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
Mt. Wellington, Auckland
You obviously don't remember Mick Watson.
Say what you want about Mick but he brought about a huge attitude shift in the Warriors that brought us to our first Grand Final, restructured the organisation so it wasnt hemorrhaging money and signed us Wiki and Pricey (over the cap it would turn out!).

By far the worst CEO ever was Ian Robson. In the Warriors first season he made a profit of $40,000 from a turnover of $15 million! He was a cancer who was more interested in his own profile then that of the team. If anyone started the 'rot' at the Warriors it was definitely him.
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Warriors 1st Grader
May 7, 2012
In particular, Wayne Scurrah. He was the driving force behind getting rid of Cleary and bringing in Bluey.
he wasnt the only one, 50 percent of the vot forum community didnt seem to like cleary.


Warriors 1st Grader
May 7, 2012
he wasnt the only one, 50 percent of the vot forum community didnt seem to like cleary.
I'm one of those. Admired him greatly as a player , couldn't stand his persona.

Elliot said that the effort has been there lately and the problems been execution. I would have said yes to effort and taken Elliot at his word , but he admitted he didn't look at anything pre this year ( so there is a lack of effort on his part there ).

Are we improving ?


Not in the bigger picture , improving from dreadful individual performances strung together time and again perhaps.

But any anti Cleary fans who rate this shit as an improvement are hypocrits since the measure of improvement must go beyond the lower top eight finishes that Cleary was good for.

Improvement and effort for my part can only be claimed in a top four finish under a new and highly promoted / hyped ( and paid for in the case of my first ever Season membership ) regime.
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