Do the New Zealand Warriors deserve to stay in the NRL?
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Warriors' Manu Vatuvei celebrates. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Wayne Drought
The New Zealand Warriors’ 52-12 capitulation to the Cowboys at the weekend was a disgrace. In my opinion, a number of players were absolutely clueless in defence while others either didn’t care – or didn’t try.
It was a shallow, no, make that a low performance that book-ended the previous week’s 45-4 rout by the Cronulla Sharks. Unless there is vast improvement, I believe the club’s future participation in the NRL competition must surely be questioned.
I have a number of questions after witnessing that miserable ‘effort’ in Townsville last Saturday night. It’s really hard to believe this club made the Big Dance last year and was supposedly playing for a berth in this year’s finals series.
Should we kick them out of the NRL and invite an Aussie team that wants to compete in the world’s premier rugby league competition? Are these guys bent on representing their country with the innate personal pride and professionalism that characterises every Kiwi sporting outfit?
Is there any player respect for Kiwi-born coach Brian McLennan or even the slightest regard for his tactics?
There is a real chance the Warriors will finish with the wooden spoon this year if this rot doesn’t stop.
The club has been a part of our competition since 1995 and aside from two GF appearances, they have made the playoffs seven times.
I refuse to look in the Cowboys’ direction and say that they were running hot the other night and exposed the Warriors’ glaring defensive deficiencies and near-ineptitude in attack.
After all, it’s easy to romp over for try after try when the other mob lacks passion and purpose.
League people around the nation are well aware the Warriors have major flaws with their defence in the centres.
Promising youngster Konrad Hurrell is all at sea when the opposition runs straight or even slightly angular lines and there seems no future for the coach to keep picking any number of back-rowers as his centre partner.
In my opinion, Manu Vatuvei has been a poor choice as skipper. The Beast may well be an attacking spearhead but he hardly utters a word to his team during the heat of battle. When his hands let him down, he becomes an obvious and easy target for opposing kickers.
Hardly an inspiration.
And there are many, many more problems.
Shaun Johnson is a gifted attacking player but his line-breaking skills are seen too rarely. Defensively, he is pretty much in the turnstile category.
He needs to be dropped down a level and learn the basic art of tackling.
We keep hearing that the Warrior pack has plenty of ‘big boppers.’ Terrific, but where are these boppers in the second half of games when the opposition is scoring at almost a point a minute?
This is the NRL guys, big time professional rugby league. Defence comes from inner steel not plasticine, showy tattoos on backs and huge biceps.
I have enjoyed watching some Warriors teams over the years but those were adept at attack and defence.
The current mob is an embarrassment to themselves and their fans.
If they want to salvage some credibility and remain in an Aussie competition, a good start would be to show some spine against Penrith at home this Sunday.