5 straight losses isn't fun for anybody. Especially it coming after we crept into the Top 4 for the first time since 2011, thoroughly beating a Storm side at a ruckus Mt Smart Stadium. I was there that day, the atmosphere was electric and the feeling was surreal.
Last night was breaking point for most of us fans. I wouldn't call this feeling frustrating anymore, but just disappointment. It isn't fair. We taste success and it's cruelly taken away from us on the back of multiple injuries.
It's beyond just loosing Shaun Johnson for the season. It's season-ending injuries to Leuluai, Henry, Laumape. Loosing Thompson, Hoffman, and Manu for periods of the season. Not having Tomkins for the start of the season. Suspensions to Hurrell, who has failed to kick on this season due to inconsistent form which is due to inconsistent playing time. And now Matulino misses 3 games. Key players, some that lead, some who steer the direction of their team through their actions, some who provide the ad-lib, x-factor plays which can change the course of a game in an instant.
As a result, we have had to over-rely on the work of our rookies. Kata, Lolohea, Maumalo, Vete. Lisone and RFM throughout the season. These fullas are burnt out. The Panthers rushed up on Lolohea yesterday as much as they would Shaun Johnson. Lolohea had no answer. He didn't have the experience to find an alternative. Players like Kata, Vete and Lisone never quit trying. Vete and Lisone have had chances to recuperate in the reserve grade this season. Kata has played every single FG game this season, and cops a shit load of criticism. He played his ass off last night.
We've also had to rely on players like Chad and Friend, who have had responsibilities heightened through this dark period. Unfortunately they have failed miserably to turn things around. Chad isn't a FG level half, let alone a lead playmaker who is supposed to make a game-changing play. Friend's play of the ball is ridiculously slow. Tomkins has been exposed as a piece to the puzzle, and without the other pieces his effectiveness isn't complete. He doesn't stop trying though.
Then you have Mannering, who looks exhausted. One of his worst games in a Warriors jersey last night. He looks disengaged, which is pathetic for a so-called "captain". But, if being a Warriors fan is as draining as it is, imagine being the captain of the team.
We are all frustrated because this feeling as all too familiar, but the circumstances are much different. This season we have crumbled because we have lost too much talent. We argue that our team should be playing with heart, passion and pride. I think the heart is there, but the execution is amiss. We have an abundance of talent in our younger crop of players, but with only 10-15 FG games experience they still have a shitload of experience to endure before understanding how to harness their potential.
You'd still hope they have something left to give us to see off the season.
NRL: McFadden concedes Warriors not good enough 2:03 PM Sunday Aug 16, 2015
Dejected Warriors coach Andrew McFadden conceded his side was not good enough, as they slumped to a fifth consecutive defeat at the hands of the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night.
With their season on the line and three rounds still remaining in the regular season, the Warriors failed to rise to the challenge and were again found wanting defensively, as the Panthers raced out to a 14-0 lead after 28 minutes.
The visitors did well did well to strike back with two quick tries to Sam Tomkins and Konrad Hurrell, but further defensive lapses before and after the halftime break proved critical to their downfall.
McFadden says his younger players are struggling to meet the standards required, but a lack of depth at the club means his hands are tied in terms of selection options.
"We didn't start well and got behind early. We clawed our way back a little bit, but the try before halftime and, in particular, the one after halftime, that's where we're at at the moment.
We're just not quite good enough," said McFadden.
"It would have probably been ok going in at 14-10 at halftime but that long range try again and then the same thing after halftime, that's where we're at.
"We haven't got a lot of other options and that goes right through our whole team. It's pretty much what we have out there at the moment, that's what we've got."
Rookie playmaker, Tui Lolohea, in his third start in the No7 jersey, showed spark with the ball in hand but felt the heat defensively as the Panthers relentlessly targeted his right edge.
His halves partner, Chad Townsend, endured another mixed night with some off-target passing and kicking letting the home side off the hook when the Warriors attack looked to be building.
"I thought our kick game was really ordinary tonight and that didn't build any pressure on the opposition and even when we did we didn't quite have that killer blow and let them off the hook," said McFadden.
"We get a team down in the corner and the next minute they're scoring in the corner, so we've just got some blokes that just...they're tired."
"So that's where we're at the moment as a group. It's a challenge. There's no doubt about that. "We've got our senior guys that are working hard and got some young kids that are doing a fair job they're just 24 rounds into the NRL so it's tough for them."
McFadden was reluctant to blame their problems on the absence of injured halfback Shaun Johnson, but said his side had been affected by the loss of key personnel. "I'm not pointing there. We've got to be better but take key people out of any team and see how they go.
"It's not just Shaun, we're missing Thomas Leuluai, who was our starting hooker and he was playing terrific before he got hurt."
Captain Simon Mannering, who had an indifferent night with some uncharacteristic defensive and handling lapses putting his side under pressure, felt like nothing was going their way.
"There was still plenty of time left and down by 14 we thought we had every chance to make a bit of a comeback but it just wasn't our night," said Mannering.
"We couldn't hold on to the footy, couldn't keep them in their end and couldn't win any field position or build any pressure and it's pretty hard to score points off that."
Warriors v Panthers: Three Things
1. Put a line through the Warriors
The Warriors have looked like dead men walking in recent weeks but the loss to the Panthers has effectively killed off their season once and for all.
They remain an outside chance mathematically, but after having it all to play for against Penrith, failed to muster the effort required. Bring on 2016.
2. Lolohea growing in confidence
Young Warriors halfback Tui Lolohea looks to be finding his feet in the playmaking role despite playing behind a beaten pack and coming in for plenty of attention defensively.
The Panthers ball-runners targeted the 20-year-old rookie and he made two missed tackles, but looked comfortable chiming into the attack and was dangerous off second-phase.
2. Shoulder charge questions remain
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden's frustration at the lack of consistency in the refereeing of shoulder charges was clear, after prop Sam Rapira was forced out of the game after 18 minutes following a big shot from Panthers front-rower Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
After losing Ben Matulino for three games for a shoulder charge, McFadden was not at all confident that the Rapira incident would be correctly judged.
"I know the shoulder made contact with the head," he said. "But I'm not sure if...I don't actually know what the shoulder charge is, so I'll leave that one."
Veitchy on Sport 4 hrs · Warriors fans, now that another season is dead and buried as far as the playoffs are concerned, CEO Jim Doyle is coming into studio with me at 5. Here's your chance to vent and pose a questions. Jim taking your calls on Newstalk ZB at 5. 0800 80 10 80.
Haha yeah, that guy is the biggest cock sucker in the media, all he's concerned with is keeping good relationships with players and organizations so he can get interviews, so he never actually goes after any one for fear of offending them and losing access...he will ask the simplest of questions and just allow the pre-scripted excuse to be rolled out, so pathetic.
I like what people have been asking - the pure pissedoffness with the team - Doyle needs to hear it even though i am sure he is aware off it. Whoever Emmett was who described Warriors gameday as like getting excited about getting a present, the excitement of opening it and its a cardboard box full of shit - classic.