Man, what a crazy game and crazy beginning to the year.
Somehow, in the space of one season, it's gone from one absolute extreme - the most ultra-conservative, simple, plain, boring football this club has ever played - to the other; the most cavalier, brave, reckless football we've seen in a long, long time.
The fact that this change has happened under Kearney
is absolutely mind boggling. Everything about this play style is so distinctly un-Kearney
. I have to give him an enormous wrap for doing probably the hardest thing to do as a coach; go against your own inclination to allow the team to play the way that best suits it.
The difference is evident. The structure last year was clearly strangling the team; we looked uninspired, mechanical and robotic, which will naturally happen when you're bored playing the game. Just giving the team the freedom to play eyes up, makes everyone engage mentally because the ball could be alive at any moment.
We're finally starting to see the real Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
in a Warriors jumper... and he looks happy
, and Pulu
have made an immediate, and tangible difference to the pack. There's such an intelligence to Harris
' play, backed up by his monstrous physical ability; he could go down as one of our best ever signings. Our outside backs are all playing well. Our bench is bringing impact. But the two players I have to single out for the most praise, are Green and Johnson
. Green is really the linchpin of all of this change. He is the fulcrum around which this team, and this playstyle, is being built; and because of this, we're seeing Shaun Johnson
-ascendent... man it could be scary what Shaun Johnson
could be if we really get into the groove this season. There won't be a team in the game that won't fear him.
As an aside, anyone else see the irony we're now playing this way after Matulino left us? He would be absolutely devastating in this new system, with the new found freedom the team has.
Early days, so I won't get ahead of myself, but.... 2/2 to start a season. That's no small deal for us.