Flaky Warriors back to square one, now eye Foran return


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    It was almost a case of back to the drawing board for Warriors coach Stephen Kearney after Friday’s 24-12 loss to the Bulldogs in Dunedin.

    The nominal visitors started well in both halves but weren’t able to capitalise on barrels of possession, eventually fading to a Bulldogs side that took their limited chances.

    Kearney was disappointed with the way his side fell away in the second half.

    “They got over the tryline a bit too easily for my liking so we’ll have to have a really good look at that and make sure we’re better next week,” Kearney said.

    The Warriors’ left-hand edge was seized upon by the Bulldogs twice in 10 minutes, giving them a 10-6 halftime lead.

    Wingers Brett Morris and Marcelo Montoya then capitalised on some shaky Warriors edge defending to secure their side’s first NRL win of the year.

    When asked about what contributed to his side’s defensive flakiness at key moments, Kearney said it was too early to know for certain.

    Yet while the Warriors’ defence wilted, it was their indecision in attack under the roof at Forsyth-Barr Stadium that would have surprised many.

    In perfect conditions, the Warriors held all the ball and had the Bulldogs on their line for the opening 20 minutes of the first and second halves to no avail.

    “We had enough opportunities – I don’t think we quite nailed them or quite executed as well as we would have liked,” Kearney said.

    The Warriors will now look ahead to next week’s clash with the Dragons, and the potential return of troubled playmaker Kieran Foran to NRL action.

    The ex-Kiwis five-eighth was cleared by the NRL to play for the Warriors against the Bulldogs, but he is yet to recover from a long-term shoulder injury.

    Kearney was coy when asked about whether the 26-year-old Foran would be ready for his side’s trip to Sydney.

    “We have to name 21 (men) on Tuesday afternoon so that’ll give you an indication of whether they’ll be there or thereabouts,” Kearney said.

    “At this stage I can’t tell you – we’ll have to have a real good look at him next week.”

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • March 18th 2017 @ 10:28am
      Albo said | March 18th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Just an awful game between two teams in desperate need of an on field game manager. In the end the Dogs had enough individual skill to cross for a couple of extra tries from limited opportunities to grab the win, whilst the Warriors were generally clueless and just praying Johnson might save them, but he was once again way off his best. Seems to me that the Warriors just have too many players way out of form.Johnson just drifts in and out of games with the occasional gem of a performance. Lolohea has done nothing in two seasons. Issac Luke is only a shadow of his Souths days. Hoffman offers little these days.The Warriors wingers are big bodies but heart attack material in defence. And the team selections and apparent tactics are puzzling. I consider Bunty Afoa one of the Warriors future forward stars, but he was started on the bench last night and has seemingly been given the role of just hitting up the ball for 5 metres of hard yards or acting as a pivot rather than charging through holes that featured in his early games. They need a full clean out or pray that Foran can get on the park and organise this current rabble.

      • Roar Guru

        March 18th 2017 @ 10:54am
        The Barry said | March 18th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        Interesting to hear a neutral fans perspective.

        I agree the game didn’t really reach any great heights in the intensity stakes but I didn’t think it was awful.

        Dogs halves cop a lot but they were much better last night. Mbye scored the first try. Reynolds and Mbye combined directly in all three of the other tries. I thought the dogs looked pretty sharp when they were on the same side of the field. They created space for their outside players. Kicking game was much better.

        The Warriors had a fair bit more ball. The Dogs scored pretty much any time they got to the Warriors end. Not sure what you mean by ‘individual skill’ got the dogs over the line. Their tries were all team tries rather than individual brilliance.

        I think you’re being tough on Johnson. He’s the only one that looks like doing anything but he’s working on his own. Warriors have no energy or shape in attack. Early days for him but Kearney isn’t impressing me so far.

        • March 18th 2017 @ 5:29pm
          Jacko said | March 18th 2017 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

          Johnson made more sideways metres than forward metres…Not good enough from the man supposed to be running the game. In cricket he would be the ultimate flat track bully.

          • Roar Guru

            March 18th 2017 @ 7:49pm
            The Barry said | March 18th 2017 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

            I feel your pain but Johnson is the least of the Warriors problems. He’s trying something at least. There’s a lot of players in that squad delivering less than Johnson. Without him the Warriors have nothing.

            • March 20th 2017 @ 12:53pm
              Albo said | March 20th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

              The problem as I see it is that the Warriors appear to have no planned strategies in attack. It seems solely based on Johnson playing off the top of his head, and as such it is impossible for team mates / runners to know what he is doing and to be there supporting him. He sets off across field waiting for a gap to appear and generally when it doesn’t appear he just hands it off to the closest player. He is blessed with individual running skills but no real vision or plan to bring others with him. I think the young five eigth has more vision here but is still a baby learning the game. I blame the coaching for not having some clear strategies in place. As it is now, only Boden Thompson running off the right hand edge off a Johnson pass provides any danger to opposition defences. The rest are just plugging away up the middle or their outside backs are trying to gain yards from dummy half. Bunty Afoa is a prospect as an attacking force who seems to have now been hobbled into being just a 5 metre hit up merchant or a pivot rather than hitting holes on the edge like he did when he first appeared last year. Maybe Foran can provide a new focus, but the coach needs to have some plans for them to put in place rather than hoping Johnson can find a gap and do something !

    • March 18th 2017 @ 10:41am
      ferret said | March 18th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

      Warriors only point of attack is Johnson so pretty easy for other teams to work out where the ball is going. Isaac Luke needs to spark something from dummy half to give the attack another option. Keiran Foran will take pressure off Johnson. Can’t blame the kid at 5/8, he’s just learning the ropes of being an NRL player.

      • March 18th 2017 @ 11:49am
        Minefield said | March 18th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        The old leading team attacking the tryline given a penalty for nothing (so to kick the goal) to keep it a one score game. Bulldogs attacking tiring Warriors line at 16-12 given a penalty for what? a man tackling below the waist with zero force. These penalties happen every week.

    • March 18th 2017 @ 3:31pm
      Jacko said | March 18th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

      Johnson is not the player to lead the attack……Quite simply he is NOT CAPABLE of doing it. PLEASE drop him for a few rounds…Say 24…then see how the Warriors go. That was as bad an effort as I have seen last night and coming from the Warriors there is plenty of crap efforts to choose from….Someone wake me when the finals are decided…at least we wont have to watch such crap as was dished up last night

      • Roar Guru

        March 18th 2017 @ 3:52pm
        The Barry said | March 18th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

        Hey Jacko

        I don’t think Johnson is the problem. He’s leading the attack but no one is going with him. So many times last night he was running the ball and taking it to the line but no one going with him.

        The only times the Warriors look dangerous is off the back of Johnson. He can’t do it all himself though.

        Hingano isn’t doing much to assist. Hopefully Foran can when he comes back.

        • March 18th 2017 @ 4:33pm
          Jacko said | March 18th 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

          That may well be true Barry but how long has the coaching had to sort that out? How long has Johnson, a senior player now, had to sort that out? Its as tho he has no idea and with him nothing much is happening so give someone else a shot or get some decent coaching….enough is enough and Johnson has continued to do nothing other than run for 2 runs a match or doing silly stuff under pressure.

          Surely attack comes down to two things….Coaching or natural ability….Coaching is a big letdown and he seems to have lost his natural instinct side of the game…..time to have a rest.Also HOW does a guy like Kearney spend time at the Storm and the Bronco’s and not learn how to teach attack?

    • March 18th 2017 @ 3:47pm
      Jacko said | March 18th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

      I would force the Warriors to watch the Titans game and let them see what a FIGHTING SPIRIT looks like……Im angry after watching that rubbish and this has been going on for 2 years now. They seem to have NO idea how to play league…Nothing they do is instinctive…Nothing they do is inventive and nothing has passion and enthusiasim snd these guys are actually PAID to be there. Kearney is a MASSIVE disapointment and when he was chosen I was shattered. Who told Kearney that league only has a defensive part…no attacking part…Then how do they get the defensive part so wrong? Very difficult to watch….I dont believe I can continue to watch for much longer and thats about the way they are being coached and are playing. I dont expect wins all the time and will happily accept a loss to a better side, if they give it a shot at actually winning, but this rubbish served up by the team constantly has me baffled as to what the coaching staff are doing all week…Just pathetic Warriors…Just Pathetic….

      If Foran cant turn them around I will burn my supporters jumper…My body outgrew it a while ago…Now my head is outgrowing it

      • March 18th 2017 @ 7:45pm
        terrence said | March 18th 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

        Jacko, I think you might have nailed it. Kearney is not a first grade coach. A great assistant coach yes (chuck in Furner, Price, Taylor, Cartwright in the same bracket). The Warriors had a choice between Toovey and Kearney, and yet again, they got it wrong.

        Everyone says look at Kearney as the Kiwi coach. Yes, great. That’s a squad selected for him for one game or a set of games over a 4-6 week tournament. It’s nowhere near the same as the NRL week in and out. He is not proven as a head coach at this level and unlikely ever to be.

        I don’t think Foran is the answer for the Warriors (or any team). His body was pretty busted up when he left Manly. He’ll play a few games this year, but he won’t be any superstar.

    • March 18th 2017 @ 9:24pm
      Greg said | March 18th 2017 @ 9:24pm | ! Report

      You surely build a team around Johnson but his team mates need to be up to his tempo and read the game like he does. As the Warriors ran out of ideas it became so frustrating. Johnson tried hard to unlock Cantebury but the other players were bereft of ideas and looked defeated. Isaac Luke’s play the ball fumble was the final straw and typified all that was going wrong. If they can gell and click around Johnson and with a fit RTS they will be a potent attacking threat.

      • March 19th 2017 @ 10:04am
        Cedric said | March 19th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        you’ve got to wonder what the Warriors do at training, can’t be much defensive work or attacking drills!
        Johnson was running all over the place looking for runners, thought one might appear maybe with a dummy runner included, no. Infact we saw Johnson appear through the defensive line with the try line about 10 metres away, thought he might blast past the two defenders but alas no he looked for a runner and guess what, no one!
        I once read, years ago, Wayne Bennett said of his Langer and co team that he had very strict rules in his own 40 metre, but his attacking plan could be written on the back of a postage stamp. In other words INSTINCTIVE PLAY, play what’s in front of you!

        There dosn’t look like much instinct in the Warriors attack.

        I hope they really miss SCHECK, FORAN and MATALINO!

        • Roar Guru

          March 19th 2017 @ 10:16am
          The Barry said | March 19th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

          Good comment Cedric. I lost count of how many times Johnson took the ball to the line, beat the first defender and then looked for support…for no one to be there. He can’t do it all himself every time. His team mates need to step up.

          I thought Johnson was ok on Friday but was left to do it by himself.

    • March 18th 2017 @ 11:08pm
      chump said | March 18th 2017 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

      Can you lot buy more copy please. It’s so nice to have a good article on here.

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