New Zealand Warriors 2017 season review

Eddie Otto Roar Guru

By Eddie Otto, Eddie Otto is a Roar Guru

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    The Warriors entered 2017 with optimism, on the back of key signings Kieran Foran and new head coach Stephen Kearney. Once again, on paper, this side looked like a top-eight roster, however like the previous five seasons they flattered to deceive, finishing in 13th place.

    That made it six years in a row without finals football, after making the grand final in 2011.

    There are just about no positives out of 2017 for the Kiwi side, putting in several toothless displays indicating a poor culture.

    Life was seen briefly in their season during the Origin period, when they took advantage of clubs that are under strength, yet they finished the season deplorably, with seven straight losses.

    Major changes are required.

    Coach rating 4/10: Stephen Kearney
    With the New Zealand international spine at his disposal, Kearney really ought to have got more out of this men.

    There are doubts about Kearney’s ability as a first-grade coach, given his two underwhelming seasons at Parramatta, followed by this first-up effort across the ditch.

    There are bigger problems in Auckland though, given they have turned over plenty of coaches over the years for similarly average results since Ivan Cleary’s successful stint.

    Still, Kearney will be under intense pressure next season.

    Stephen Kearney in 2008

    Stephen Kearney has had a bad start at the Warriors. (Kahuroa, Wikimedia Commons)

    Best win: Round 9 – New Zealand Warriors 14-13 Sydney Roosters
    In a real war of attrition, the Warriors trailed for the majority of the last 20 minutes, and usually they would throw in the towel. But here, they hung tough and pinched it with a late penalty goal.

    Worst loss: Round 22 – Newcastle Knights 26-10 New Zealand Warriors
    This was a game the Kiwis were never really in, against the eventual wooden spooners – a side the Warriors were well capable of beating on paper.

    Kearney questioned the attitude of a number of players after this game, but still rolled out most of the same names for the remaining four rounds, as they finished the season dismally.

    Best player: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    While he has failed to hit the heights he did at the Roosters, the captain was consistent and dependable in a side with many under-performers.

    Nine tries, 15 line breaks and running for over 3900 metres, RTS involved himself in most games, and added touches of class to the end of several backline movements.

    Most disappointing player: Kieran Foran
    It might seem harsh to plump for Foran, given he was hampered by injuries and only played 17 games. However, a number of his displays were disappointing, particularly after he started the season really well. Both his involvement in games and body language dropped off once he had signed for the Bulldogs.

    Heading to his fourth club in four years, Foran is not the sure bet he used to be, and needs to perform.

    2018 propects
    This side doesn’t look like turning it around and must be favourites for the wooden spoon in 2018 given the number of departing names.

    There are rumours of a big-money move for Adam Blair about to be finalised, but I have my doubts about him.

    With a lack of quality depth, Stephen Kearney will have his hands full getting this team off the bottom in 2018.

    Season ranking – 13th (seven wins, 17 losses, 444 points scored, 575 against)

    Season rating 1/10

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • October 1st 2017 @ 5:02am
      Dean said | October 1st 2017 @ 5:02am | ! Report

      I too have read the rumours relating to Adam Blair going to the Warriors on a big money deal. Even Wayne Bennett has given the go ahead to Blair to look around for a better deal than what he’s on at the Broncos. If the Warriors are going to pay big money for a player like Blair, the person who rubber stamps the contract should be sacked. Blair has been a good player for the Broncos without being outstanding. At the Broncos you have to be up to the standard or you get dropped. Just ask Ben Hunt. At his previous club the the West’s Tigers, Blair apparently had a big money contract also, but he hardly earned his money with consistent good performances. Talking bluntly, he appeared to be on holiday. I fear for the Warriors that that is what they will get from Blair if they sigh him. It’s all too comfortable for Blair going to the Warriors. The Warriors don’t tend to drop their big name players when they aren’t playing well. Where’s the challenge for Blair. I’d give him a 2 year contract and make him earn his next contract, A 3 year contract will just about see Blair’s playing career coming to an end. I could be wrong, but I’d be looking for a young Aussie with appropriate skills who can’t get a look in at clubs over here. Sorry Adam Blair, you are just not worth it.

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

    • October 1st 2017 @ 1:30pm
      antz said | October 1st 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

      i agree, blair will be good but he is’nt the answer. need a couple of props and to finally settle on a 6/7 combo. Plenty of sides get away with out heaps of flashy players and it’s about time the warriors just played solid footy. issac luke needs to step up hard and so does the forward pack. backs should be fine if the team gets some decent ball and field position.

    • October 2nd 2017 @ 9:45am
      Matth said | October 2nd 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Their pack looked overpowered this year, that’s where their recruiting needs to focus.

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