We are only five rounds into the 2014 NRL season and already we have our first coaching casualty, with Matthew Elliott parting ways with the Warriors.
There has been the regular media beat down of what was going wrong and why Matthew Elliott was never the right choice and so on.
But this goes further than just Elloitt. What would you think if I told you that two key decisions in the past would become a big reason for the current Warriors environment?
Matt Elliott is not the only one to blame, there are many others including the players, but the main problems come from the top.
Decisions and statements that they have made are coming back to haunt them. I am talking about leadership and the famous comment from Owen Glenn about becoming the biggest sporting franchise in Australasia.
In late 2009 the Warriors made quite a bizarre decision by stripping the team’s captaincy from Australian and State of Origin prop Steve Price. The reasoning for this was building towards the future, where they handed over the reins to Simon Mannering.
There is where it begins to go downhill for the Warriors.
I ask this simple question, did the Broncos strip Darren Lockyer of his captaincy when he announced his retirement?
Darren Lockyer was a great leader where all the players on his team held him at the highest level. He simply led from the front. The importance of leadership in sport is huge.
The All Blacks had a fearless leader in Richie McCaw, who had no disregard for his body and led the team to a World Cup victory.
During the 2013 NBA Finals we witnessed two great leaders in Lebron James and Tim Duncan put on a show for the ages. The importance of leadership cannot be understated.
The decision by the Warriors to strip their fearless leader of the captaincy and give it to a guy who has a total lack of heart is actually a major reason for the lack of success on the field.
Many would say to me that Steve Price would have retired in 2010 and Simon Mannering would have been the captain anyway. That is true but it shows us the lack of respect the Warriors organisation had for Steve Price by stripping him of that position.
During the time of Steve Price’s leadership, as well as the great Ruben Wiki, the Warriors went through a period of consistency and strength. The team wasn’t the most star studded but they were a solid team led by inspirational players.
They batted well above their weight. Today the Warriors are full of star power and have ample resources but do not have that leader that is respected by his fellow teammates and is an inspiration on the field.
It is often seen that the current captain has no relationship with the competitions referees. The way he conducts post match and regular interviews is extremely underwhelming and he is simply a below average captain.
The Warriors leadership on the field is one thing but their leadership off the field that is a serious issue.
With the arrival of Owen Glenn, a statement was made that the Warriors would become the biggest sporting franchise in Australasia.
He then made outrageous statements including there should be a second New Zealand franchise in South Auckland. Owen Glenn is an outstanding businessman but those comments were absolutely outrageous. The Warriors haven’t even won a NRL premiership and they are talking about becoming a formidable franchise.
Over the last couple of seasons the Warriors ownership and management have conducted two unsuccessful coaching appointments and a huge amount of unsuccessful re-signing of key players.
They conducted the last coaching appointment like it was Warrior Idol, with drama, suspense and rumours flowing around in the time before Elliott was given the job.
They also made an unrealistic push for Craig Bellamy, while there was another highly regarded coach in Tim Sheens waiting on the side-lines.
This shows the Warriors’ tendency to try and run before they can walk.
There are many more that have to take some blame. The players are in the end of the day playing the game on the field and they should take some responsibility.
I’m getting a strong feeling from these current players that their egos are a little out of control.
Unfortunately every season Stephen Kearney gets his annual dose of Warriors syndrome and selects some of these players in the Kiwis side even though they just ain’t good enough.
The Under 20 Competition has been one of the success stories of the Warriors organisation.
Some seasons they have looked unbeatable, but this is also a big problem.
These under 20s players have been totally dominating the age group competition, but the lack of defence and the obvious size difference between Under 20s and first grade is too much of a jump.
The players are being put in first grade with pumped up egos, believing they will run over their smaller opposition, before being hit with the brutal reality of first grade.
Other NRL teams like the Broncos feed straight from Queensland Cup where players are already hardened up and somewhat ready for the NRL, while the Warriors Under 20s are simply playing kiddy ball.
Probably the worst thing for these players is the media in New Zealand. The media unfortunately have pumped these players up as sporting superstars, something that they are not.
There were even claims that the 22-year-old Hurrell is a household name in New Zealand. Sorry but Hurrell is no Richie McCaw.
Being the only New Zealand NRL franchise, the Warriors are going to be constantly harassed by the media.
While Steven Adams is reaching unprecedented heights for a Kiwi in the NBA, the media are too busy caring about what Shaun Johnson’s new haircut looks like.
All the drama of a Warriors season is totally blown up by the media. What doesn’t help is how the Warriors players play into this and don’t put their head down and concentrate on winning games.
The interview with Johnson after he was dropped recently looked like an episode of Dr Phil.
I have made some pretty harsh comments but it’s time for solutions.
The Warriors have a serious problem in retaining key players, James Maloney and Brent Tate for example. I believe it’s time to restructure the franchise to include someone in charge of football operations, exactly what Phil Gould is doing at Penrith with success.
Someone of high regard needs to be dealing with the players instead of the back office.
It is time to get a franchise coach, somebody like Tim Sheens who will take no s*** and tell the players how it is.
I get sick and tired with these comments that go around that Matt Elliott’s failure had to do with being unable to relate with the players etc. I am sick of seeing coaches being forced out because of player power.
It is time to get a coach that will ship out these bad eggs and get players in that respect their coach and want to play football.
Leadership needs to be shown on the field too. It is time for Simon Mannering to step up or step down. The Warriors need an inspirational leader to lead from the front.
Finally the team needs to turn up and play football. It’s time for the infinite amount of jerseys the team plays in to end, it’s time for the glory hunting and try celebrating on the field to end, and it’s time for players to play the game.
In my opinion it’s time for players and management to step up or get out. It’s now time for real change.