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Opinion

Vaccine, Warriors premiership: The miracles needed to save season from asterisk

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Expert
26th May, 2020
10

Some fans are adamant this year’s premiership will forever bear an asterisk, suggesting it will never be considered a genuine NRL season even with a regulation top eight and customary drug scandal on kick-off.

They claim the premiers will be phoney outliers simply because it lacked traditional concepts like ball boys and nightclubs, and because the game cannot bear anything mildly unpredictable unless you’ve plunged on it for Coach of the Year.

Thankfully, this notion is totally avoidable via a few simple, miraculous acts of God.

With the game now slightly tinkered to resemble cross-country lacrosse, all 2020 needs is something just as deeply flawed to be certified as a bona fide, pandemic-interrupted, half-assed rugby league season.

All 2020 needs is an immediately available vaccine or, more implausibly, a Warriors title run.

Firstly, if someone could deliver a vaccine yesterday, not only would it immunise humans against a deadly virus, it would cure the greater anxiety of something that could be unfairly won by the Broncos.

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A medical breakthrough would see the NRL welcome back crowds and home ground advantage, while also waiving off uncertainties such as dirty zones and amateur referees like Bill Harrigan and Ben Cummins, thus restoring an even playing field for all clubs – even Canberra.

But as all medical professionals would attest, there’s only one thing on the planet more uplifting than herd immunity, and that’s an exhilarating Warriors title run.

Just a quick caveat before we proceed though: the Warriors are definitely not going on a title run.

NZ Warriors

(Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Not only is the club racked with injuries and bad habits, it is burdened by the anguish of leaving behind despairing families, all of whom are suffering at the thought of months at home without the opportunity to meet Peter V’landys.

Further damning their chances in this offbeat season, statistical data reveals the club to be a noted struggler on the road, under adversity, and at football.

Coach Stephen Kearney is also under pressure, not only because his teams have played finals only once in eight seasons, but because he’s been coaching the Warriors for three, which leaves his sacking overdue by two.

With major rule changes now being determined by online polls, these Warriors have become even less influential on the NRL than their keyboard namesake. For the average rugby league fan – the one who usually hates when other teams win – this automatically qualifies them as our second team.

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This status has strengthened after the Kiwi squad heroically gave up home, family and friends to keep the NRL afloat, all sacrifices to play footy that are almost as harrowing as a flu shot.

The players even donated their player fund back to the club to try and retain some normality, a move that proves they also understand the predicament of those doing it tough, and the punters who keep making the futile decision to back them on the TAB.

Furthermore, they’ve now been through Terrigal, Tamworth and transit, an indignity almost as heinous as nearly being denied entry back to their own country – although this government edict was less to do with coronavirus and more to do with the Matt Elliott years.

Such is the lovable Warriors predicament, there is even talk of hiring the services of Paul Gallen. In saying this, you should still support them.

Paul Gallen Sharks

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Some may believe the Warriors don’t deserve anything special. Some may believe if any one of us were in the same position, we too would make the same sacrifices to save Channel Nine.

But never forget this competition would never have gone ahead without them, because their LOLs are an essential service.

The Warriors are the only tortured outfit of individuals who truly deserve to win this premiership, bar the referees. We need them to exorcise demons and asterisks, despite it being the first time with a genuine excuse not to.

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