Warriors concede rugby league ‘isn’t working for them’

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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81 Have your say

    The New Zealand Warriors have conceded that starting a rugby league team was a “poor business decision” and that the game “probably isn’t their thing.”

    The confession follows last night’s meek 30-14 resignation to the Dragons at FMG Stadium in Waikato, a loss that extended the club’s streak of wasted potential to 22 years.

    Playing with a virtual international team in their own conditions against an injury-depleted opposition, the Warriors lived up to expectations and caved spectacularly.

    Most notably it was their star-studded spine who gifted the hardy gathering of confused rugby union fans in Waikato a night they’ll never forget, turning on a performance more anonymous than the opposing quartet of playmakers they lined up against.

    In the end it was a six tries to three demolition that tidily complemented the spluttering narrative of their underwhelming season and hence their existence.

    However, this bewildering implosion was unlike those before it, as it ultimately revealed the organisation does have a pulse.

    The failure triggered the club into action, with a root-and-branch review conducted to determine the viability of being a professional disappointment.

    Following the recommendations of the review, the Warriors will now restructure their business model and cease trading in rugby league altogether.

    Many business experts have pointed out the high degree of financial risk this poses for the club, with a 260 per cent reduction in revenue forecast from no longer flogging off 25 switch jerseys per season.

    But the club believes winding up rugby league operations will open up an exciting opportunity to concentrate exclusively on exploring “the best fit for their brand”, which will probably result in them becoming a specialist Nines outfit.

    While acknowledging any day involving the word ‘brand’ to be one of deep sadness, the Warriors paid tribute to their decorated history of disappointment in the “conventional but highly complex 65-minute version of the game”.

    The club highlighted the successful campaigns of 2002 and 2011 and made special mention of the organisation’s greatest spike in popularity when then-owner Eric Watson reportedly beat up Russell Crowe in the toilets.

    The Warriors will now see out the season with an “orderly wind-down” of football operations, meaning a negligible change in product quality.

    The club plans to re-launch in 2019 under a new business model concentrating largely on assets consolidation.

    This will be mainly based on a shrewd strategy of abstaining from routinely sacking one coach every year.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (81)

    • May 20th 2017 @ 9:46am
      kk said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      When Dane gets serious the Haka offers little protection to broken spirits.

      The ARL/NRL should grant the NZRL a “ditch allowance” which would enable the
      Warriors to buy back some of their best from the big island and retain potentials.

      Then all they need is a Bennett type recruiter, an Aussie coach who can speak
      Kiwi and a fitness expert who can get the team to play a full eighty minutes plus.

      When that RTS pass was a nanosecond old their season crashed mentally and
      physically on the fields of Waikato. Jim Doyle has a reputation of being a hard
      but fair disciplinarian. Seems the boys may need their hearing checked.

      A premiership winning Warriors (just once) is vital to the health of Rugby League.

      Dane Eldridge is on his way to Auckland. Will upgrade from economy in transit.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 9:47am
      Jacko said | May 20th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      There is probably a few players who could switch to union and be succsessful. I doubt the administration could but we KNOW the coach couldnt coach his bum to point down. Mind you it shows the state of league in Aus and NZ when the same failed coaches are the only ones available. Cleary and Kearney are proof that there IS NO coaching talent coming thru leagues lower grades. When the job at the Tigers was talked about it was Cleary or a total unknown…..Maybe get a Union coach in to teach them how to pass under pressure

      • May 20th 2017 @ 11:09am
        Akari said | May 20th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

        The Wests Tigers tried that fanciful idea with former WBs coach, Alan Jones, and was out-of -his depth and unsuccessful.

        The way I see it, the Warriors forward pack (mainly those with Polynesian heritage) look unfit and seems to tire very quickly. Tough and uncompromising with oxygen in the tank but zombies-like after 10 minutes or so.

        Perhaps, the Warriors coaches and management could learn a thing or two from the Crusaders on how to manage and consistently extract the best from their players on a weekly basis.

        • May 21st 2017 @ 10:17am
          Pilferer said | May 21st 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          Wayne Smith should sort them out!

    • Roar Rookie

      May 20th 2017 @ 10:03am
      Joe said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      When you have an international spine and the best on park is Gavet who from memory has never donned a rep jersey in his career then you have real problems with your team. The Warriors were woeful, were never in the game and looked like they wanted to be anywhere but on the field. I also think RTS as captain was a mistake as he is too young and seems like a nice guy. They need someone out there who will say a few strong words when required to rev up that team and be leading from the front. Its just amazing that their Union teams in Super rugby are pretty much destroying all opposition and their League team is serving up this rubbish. Just as Union is dying in Australia so will League go in NZ if they keep up with these rubbish performances. In all seriousness what else can be done to help this team, when they already have the NZ spine playing for them. That spine and coach beat the Roos a few times playing for NZ but somehow they can’t do enough to get the Warriors into the 8? It does not make any sense which pretty much sums up the Warriors.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 11:12am
        Akari said | May 20th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        It gets tough for the spine to operate successfully when the forward pack is just not good enough.

        • May 20th 2017 @ 12:52pm
          GD66 said | May 20th 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          In a nutshell.

        • May 20th 2017 @ 1:50pm
          BenG said | May 20th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          Same as the Wallabies – forwards go nowhere so the 10-12-15 can’t do much!

        • May 21st 2017 @ 10:20am
          Jacko said | May 21st 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          Haha an international spine eh…Sounds impressive but how did that spine go in the latest international?

      • Columnist

        May 20th 2017 @ 12:55pm
        Kris Swales said | May 20th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        RTS as captain is good in theory (future of the club, etc etc) but he’s a kid coming back from an ACL, clearly down on confidence, and if his full-time interviews are any indication isn’t much of a public speaker. Hoffmann was laying down the law in a huddle last week while RTS just stood there grinning. That captaincy call is a metaphor for the club – utterly bewildering.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 2:25pm
        Rod said | May 20th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

        I will say the Auckland Blues, are pretty ordinary compared to the other New Zealand sides in Super Rugby. They should be the best . It maybe an Aukland thing

        • May 20th 2017 @ 7:12pm
          leftfield said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

          Well they do both suffer from pretty poor recruiting from their own backyard and have perennial issues at five-eighth.

          Blues are 6 from 11 rather than 4 from 11 though.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 10:26am
      Big Daddy said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      I think that future of nz warriors has to continue for rugby league to be a success in the shaky isles but this is a very good example of why it wouldn’t work in western australia.
      No matter how much money you pour into it sometimes it doesn’t work.
      Rugby league fans are very fickle and will drop off once a team starts to lose continually.

      • May 21st 2017 @ 10:23am
        Crosscoder said | May 21st 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        Then Big Daddy we’d better ditch all the S18 Oz sides, losing continually and losing fans.

        • May 21st 2017 @ 12:18pm
          Jacko said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

          Not to mention 15 of the League teams…Only 1 side ever wins…

          • May 21st 2017 @ 2:34pm
            Crosscoder said | May 21st 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

            Difference is all competitive on their day, which is fairly often.

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 1:23pm
              Jacko said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

              Yet the same teams make up the bottom of the ladder every year……

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:41pm
                Crosscoder said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

                Yet still competitive,and the code has different premiers each year compared to the others.Hell even the Warriors have appeared in a G/F.I’ll take variety anytime.

      • May 21st 2017 @ 1:41pm
        duecer said | May 21st 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        I would argue the other side of the coin – by having a NZ side that plays in an Australian comp. you are promoting a showcase of talent for other Australian sides to chase, giving Australian RL a boost but doing nothing for NZ RL – if NZ had enough interest to get their own comp. going, perhaps the interest would rise over there.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 1:25pm
          Jacko said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

          Spot on Duecer. NZ not interested in League so wont start their own Major comp. Aus only want NZ involved in the NRL so they can sell TV rights and recruit players better than those available here in Aus

    • May 20th 2017 @ 12:01pm
      Brad NSW said | May 20th 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

      Well they dont have the brains and skill to play any other sport..what will they do without Rugby League?

      • May 20th 2017 @ 10:19pm
        Karlos said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

        They play rugby union where brains and skill are not the main components. Neither are stamina or mental toughness.

        • May 21st 2017 @ 5:06am
          Yoda said | May 21st 2017 @ 5:06am | ! Report

          Have you played Union before karlos

        • May 21st 2017 @ 10:22am
          Jacko said | May 21st 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          League is checkers…Union is chess… No brains needed for checkers and Karlos you would make a great checkers player

          • May 21st 2017 @ 10:25am
            Crosscoder said | May 21st 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            And the latter is about as exciting from a speccie’s perspective.Checkers is more open.

            • May 21st 2017 @ 12:20pm
              Jacko said | May 21st 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Yes counting to 5 over and over again is amazing. So special

              • May 21st 2017 @ 2:36pm
                Crosscoder said | May 21st 2017 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

                Well it appears to keep the TV viewers interested.At least they are given only a short time to score,rather than a litany of crabwise phases that take ages, if you are into that.

          • May 21st 2017 @ 1:57pm
            jimmmy said | May 21st 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

            The game they play in heaven is the reason I am not going there. An eternity of scrum resets, plus that height of a chess like game ” The Rolling Maul”! Me I am going to the other place where checkers is the game but each of the players has a machete.

            • May 21st 2017 @ 5:38pm
              Stu said | May 21st 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

              What? U dont love 80 mins of rugby with 13 mins of actual game time?

              The first 9 mins of Warriors/Dragons game was more than half a game of rugby.

              • May 21st 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Brad NSW said | May 21st 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                And didnt the people of Waikato love that game hahaha. It really must be illegal to attend Rugby League games. The Greatest Game of all pffff…

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:12am
                Crosscoder said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:12am | ! Report

                Rugby union territory for a start BradNSW.
                Perhaps some of the Aussie union franchises would like the crowd number which attended the Waikato NRL game.
                You know the ones, those waiting on the chopping block.

              • May 23rd 2017 @ 10:18pm
                Jacko said | May 23rd 2017 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

                crosscoder the Tahs…Rebels match had far more fans than the Warriors …Dragons match so what do you mean?

      • May 21st 2017 @ 10:20am
        Crosscoder said | May 21st 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Former rugby league first graders, Dr Peponis,Dr Raftery(Wallabie’s Dr_) and Dr Gibbs Swan’s Dr) say hi Brad NSW.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 12:07pm
      Marco said | May 20th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

      What is the financial situation at the Warriors? Are the NRL keeping them afloat?
      Things never seem to get better over there.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 4:04pm
        Cedric said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

        Gee mate, easy. It’s not the end of the world. And pretty sure warriors don’t need any hand outs as they are owned by a wealthy kiwi who looks after them.
        I think the tongue in cheek article has got a few wound up thinking it’s soooooo bad. Well it’s not, it can be fixed and there are others who need more help than the warriors.
        So calm down and let’s start recruiting the right players please.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 12:04am
          Marco said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:04am | ! Report

          Nothing against the Warriors, but jeez , their owner must love throwing money away. Not much joy for their supporters.
          Every Kiwi I know is mainly interested in union and has a passing interest in league.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:03am
            Cedric said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

            you are right on both counts what a guy! If you recall he gave that other kiwi Rusty a bit of a touch in a London pub. Mind you I also like Rusty for what he has done for Souths.
            You know there are far worse stories of other clubs, Souths, Cronulla, Parra the list goes on but it so happens that the Warriors are from NZ which it appears to make a far more complex story for some. All the Warriors need is two big bopper front rowers to compliment Gavet and Tohu Harris and another back rower, job done. Same Foran is leaving but Hingaro is still young, but good. The Warriors have a recruiting issue which raises its head occasionally.

            If you and others know your league history, NZ played a huge part in the beginnings of league in Oz. The Kiwis in 1907,prior to the Sydney comp starting, took Dally Messenger with them to England as an honorary Kiwi, he wore the kiwi jersey on a number of occasions on that tour! We are in fact brothers in arms with this sport!

      • May 20th 2017 @ 4:49pm
        Agent11 said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

        The Warriors are doing fine off the field. The article was tongue in cheek. They should be doing a lot better on the field though and they are perennial under performers who many punters tip to be top 4 at the start of every year and they don’t even make the top 8.

      • May 21st 2017 @ 10:28am
        Crosscoder said | May 21st 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        Privately owned, no money issues such as borrowing from the NRL.
        Off the field selling plenty of merchandise, on the field looks as though they are selling merchandise, as the opposition is scoring.

        They have the players, they lack the 80 minute intensity and commitment.They tend to fold later in the game.

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