General Cleary banks on development

MiXmasterreece_old

Guest
Cleary banks on development
23 June 2006
By FRED WOODCOCK

There are striking similarities between the current "development" strategy at the Warriors and the one in place when coach Ivan Cleary joined the club as a player in 2000.

In 1999 the Warriors had to start offloading several experienced and highly-paid players, including Sean Hoppe, Matthew Ridge, Stephen Kearney, Quentin Pongia, Gene Ngamu and Syd Eru.

They did so over the next year and, at that stage, took the view they would be a "development" club, with little need for expensive imports who would bust the salary cap.

Instead, young players such as wings Francis Meli and Henry Fa'afili, centres Clinton Toopi and Paul Whatuira, backrowers Wairangi Koopu and Joe Galuvao (a fullback at first) were thrust into first grade.

They also brought in journeyman Australian players to bolster the squad in the likes of Jason Death, Robert Mears, David Myles and John Simon.

Results during Mark Graham's tenure were not flash, but the Warriors developed into a top-eight side in 2001 and won the minor premiership a year later.

Meli, Fa'afili, and Toopi were influential and among the players brought in during the "development" stage.
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Recently, the Warriors, under head coach Cleary, have declared themselves a "development" club.

Youngsters Simon Mannering, Evarn Tuimavave and Patrick Ah Van are getting regular game time, while former Junior Kiwi Sam Rapira is also in the mix.

Expensive players such as Toopi, Brent Webb and Awen Guttenbeil have either gone or are looking at other options, with the Warriors appearing willing to let them go if it comes down to money.

Add some solid Aussie journeymen – George Gatis, Michael Luck, Tony Martin and Todd Byrne – and notice any similarities?

Cleary does.

"I thought myself, in those years I was a player here, we had success by throwing some of the younger guys in. Historically, we've done well when we've done that, and the likes of Simon, Patrick and Sam have done well this year."

The Warriors have, to some extent, been forced into the "development" tag given their salary cap hangover and the fact they have two highly-paid props – Steve Price and Ruben Wiki – on their books.

But Cleary feels the club is set up for development.

"There's a huge nursery in New Zealand. There are so many Kiwi kids at other clubs, and we know we can't keep them all, but we would like a big chunk at the Warriors.

"That's not to say we won't recruit from elsewhere along the way, but as a rule if we've got the players here we'll recruit them."

New Zealand traditionally produce quality forwards, and Tuimavave has proven he can handle first grade. So wouldn't it be logical to develop home grown forwards and buy in some big-name Australians to fill the problem area – the halves?

Probably, but with big money tied up in captain Price (till end of 2007) and vice captain Wiki (till end of 2008), it is unlikely a Trent Barrett-type player will be coming to the Warriors any time soon.

However, Cleary is not sweating on it.

"The halves is an area we are short on – it's not just in New Zealand but Australia as well because the power game is being coached more at junior level. There is no easy solution."

Rookie Australian halfback Grant Rovelli has stepped up to the mark over recent weeks, and last month the Warriors signed him till the end of 2010.

They will be concerned about keeping other "developing" players.

Nigel Vagana, Shontayne Hape, Galuvao, Whatuira and Iefeta Palea'aesina are just some of the players who have been let go before the Warriors had seen the best of them.

"We've been fortunate enough to re-sign some emerging players – Manu Vatuvei, Evarn Tuimavave and Simon Mannering come to mind – but it's not easy with the salary cap," Cleary said.

"You've just got to do the best you can."

Cleary said, depending on how many players re-sign for next year, the club would only look to bring in two or three overseas players – which goes with their new-found "development" status.

That means there should be much more emphasis on the Warriors' elite development programme, and Cleary said it was certainly a focus for the club.

"We would love to have a development team in a competition.

"They've played four games so far this year, and we'd like to get some matches at the end of this year and heading into next year."

But for now, Cleary is more worried about developing a winning streak. It sits at two, and the cellar-dwelling Rabbitohs provide a perfect opportunity to make it three for the first time this season in Sydney on Sunday.

"We need to get four or five wins to make some ground. Things are going well at the moment, but we're certainly not getting carried away," Cleary said.

"Souths are a dangerous team with nothing to lose.

"They've been going well off the field lately, and they've got some very good players, but if we can prepare as well as we can it gives us a good chance at two points.
 

MiXmasterreece_old

Guest
Yeah it certainly is a good read, and alot of good points to it.

I certainly hope that this strategy payes off in the long run.
 

warriors4life_old

Guest
Yeah, if we can hold on to our good and up and coming talent then we will be a formidable side in a year or two.
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
Warrior_Hot_Stepper said:
Good stuff, but i hope they don't let Webb go

Yeah but unfortunatley its lookin that way. I hope not as well though!


Good article by the way.
 

one-eyed-warrior_old

Guest
Well webbys gone but i feel very positive about clearys comments, that dick mcivor said that the warriors might be up for sale after the melbourne game last night, hope that doesn't affect clearys plans for the club.
 

sebastian_old

Guest
one-eyed-warrior said:
Well webbys gone but i feel very positive about clearys comments, that dick mcivor said that the warriors might be up for sale after the melbourne game last night, hope that doesn't affect clearys plans for the club.

Whos mcivor, is he a new zealand commentator or journalist, new zealand rugby league has already tried to buy eric out, so well never close, plus they wouldnt've invested in those brothers if they planned to sell our beautiful club. Geez i hope i inherit a fortune i'd buy this club in a second.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
sebastian said:
one-eyed-warrior said:
Well webbys gone but i feel very positive about clearys comments, that dick mcivor said that the warriors might be up for sale after the melbourne game last night, hope that doesn't affect clearys plans for the club.

Whos mcivor, is he a new zealand commentator or journalist, new zealand rugby league has already tried to buy eric out, so well never close, plus they wouldnt've invested in those brothers if they planned to sell our beautiful club. Geez i hope i inherit a fortune i'd buy this club in a second.

:cool: yeah me too Seb, me too
 

haami_old

Guest
I think all Ivan's got to worry about is getting the best out of his boys every weekend to get the crowds back to Erricson....Let the rest of the crap take care of it self!!!
 

iceman_old

Guest
...good point Haami, and Ivan hasn't been able to do that..."get the best out of his boys". Why?? I know why. But you b**ps don't want to go there. But I'll suggest an answer. McClennan. Knows NZ/South pacific culture...If you don't care about the nationality of the WARRIORS, go and support the Bunnies you dumb b**p.
 

2big2strong_old

Guest
iceman said:
...good point Haami, and Ivan hasn't been able to do that..."get the best out of his boys". Why?? I know why. But you b**ps don't want to go there. But I'll suggest an answer. McClennan. Knows NZ/South pacific culture...If you don't care about the nationality of the WARRIORS, go and support the Bunnies you dumb b**p.

what the hell is that bro?? is that meant to be "beep"? did you censor........a censor?? :?
 

Esoj_old

Guest
well that was really random.

the clubs hand has been forced in a big way by the salary scanda. in saying that though it is good that they are walking the talk by signing up the younger guys coming through.
 

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