General Season Preview Thread

Ryan_old

Guest
Mushroom Sauce: https://www.leagueunlimited.com/article.php?newsid=20470

League Unlimited 2011 Season Preview - Warriors

If you are looking for the text book definition of enigma, read on. The New Zealand Warriors are it. A team that can blow any other team away on their day but can also lose to the cellar dwellers at home with their best side on the park.

This is a team that makes me scratch my head more than my last case of head lice. And believe me, my last case was shocking. The Warriors, most people believe are on the rise and are poised to make a serious run at the title and secure their first grand final berth since 2002, when they were beaten by the Roosters.

The Warriors have gained the services of two of the most enigmatic players in the NRL (Kris Inu and Feleti Mateo) to push their premiership barrow and of course it makes sense they would sign with the Warriors. It's just adds to the complexity of the New Zealand Warriors. I think the addition of Inu and Mateo ultimately makes the Warriors are far more imposing side on paper. Inu can kick goals and Mateo arguably has the best ball skills in traffic of any player in the NRL. Both have, at times, struggled to find consistent form and this is the roll of the dice the Warriors have taken by signing the former Eels.

Brent Tate has gone to the Cowboys but is unlikely to see any action this year after requiring yet another knee reconstruction after injuring his knee during the Tri Nations campaign last year.

The big upside for the Warriors is the fact the Kiwis won the Tri Nations and you would have to think that would galvanise support for the Warriors across the nation.

James Maloney was a revelation for the Warriors and gave them security in the halves, an area the Warriors have continually struggled with since the retirement of the great Stacey Jones.

Then there is Manu. The NRL's most destructive player without a doubt. He is a joy to watch when in full flight and will steam roll any player (even Josh Dugan) on his way to the try line. If Manu stays fit then he has a 20 try season ahead of him. He has improved under the high ball and he genuinely enjoys his footy and loves to show it. The game needs more Manu's, especially in NZ.

Kevin Locke, one of the fastest players in the NRL is set to take on the role of custodian for the Warriors. The jury is out on this move for me. Lance Hohaia has made this spot his own and has become very reliable for the Warriors at the back.

The Warriors have also secured the services of former Bronco Shaun Berrigan and his experience will be a major boost for the Warriors. He has great utility value and will more than likely start from the bench to give the Warriors a boost at the back end of each half. Yes, Berrigan is 32 but I believe this is an astute signing by the Warriors.

Experienced campaigners such as Micheal Luck, Simon Mannering and Lance Hohaia will provide guidance in the tight matches when youthful exuberance can take over and lead to mistakes that can cost the Warriors the game.

If the Warriors can find consistency and win away from home against teams they are expected to beat, they should finish in the top four. They have size, speed and aggression in abundance but it is guile and cunning that will take them to the promised land.

Many people thought Ivan Cleary needed to be committed for taking on such an unpredictable team but I believe he has instilled a winning culture at the club and the success of the Warriors can pave the way for a second New Zealand team, something that is vitally important for the long term future of the NRL.

For the Warriors, the world is their oyster. They have all the parts to make the ultimate rugby league machine. Let's hope they don't forget the grease and oil changes needed to keep this machine running smoothly.

Player to Watch: Feleti Mateo
The obvious choice. Such an enigmatic player but also incredibly gifted with the ball in hand. He can single handedly win or lose you a match through his passing. When he's on and he gets the miracle ball away, he's a game changer. When he throws a speculator, he can cost you dearly if it doesn't come off so in that sense he's a game changer. Still, you'd rather have him in your side than not at all and with a dominant pack and good backs, He will flourish under Ivan Cleary and is the player that can take the Warriors deep into the finals.

Rookie to Watch: Glen Fisiiahi
After being introduced to the league-loving public last year in embarrassing circumstances (search Youtube for 'Fisiiahi' and you'll know what we mean), this youngster has already come ahead in leaps and bounds. A standout performer during the Warriors' Toyota Cup premiership season, the young man they call "The Fish" has already impressed with plenty of spark in the pre-season and will be pressing for a first grade spot the moment an injury comes up in the first seventeen.


Best lineup: 1. Kevin Locke 2. Manu Vatuvei 3. Jerome Ropati 4. Joel Moon 5. Krisnan Inu 6. Brett Seymour 7. James Maloney 8. Feleti Mateo 9. Simon Mannering 10. Micheal Luck 11. Sam Rapira 12. Aaron Heremaia 13. Russell Packer
Interchange: 14. Shaun Berrigan 15. Ben Matulino 16. Lewis Brown 17. Jacob Lilyman.
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
Mushroom Sauce: https://www.leagueunlimited.com/article.php?newsid=20470

Best lineup: 1. Kevin Locke 2. Manu Vatuvei 3. Jerome Ropati 4. Joel Moon 5. Krisnan Inu 6. Brett Seymour 7. James Maloney 8. Feleti Mateo 9. Simon Mannering 10. Micheal Luck 11. Sam Rapira 12. Aaron Heremaia 13. Russell Packer
Interchange: 14. Shaun Berrigan 15. Ben Matulino 16. Lewis Brown 17. Jacob Lilyman.

Methinks your copy/paste is broken. ;)

Best lineup: 1. Kevin Locke 2. Manu Vatuvei 3. Jerome Ropati 4. Joel Moon 5. Krisnan Inu 6. Brett Seymour 7. James Maloney 13. Feleti Mateo 12. Simon Mannering 11. Micheal Luck 10. Sam Rapira 9. Aaron Heremaia 8. Russell Packer
Interchange: 14. Shaun Berrigan 15. Ben Matulino 16. Lewis Brown 17. Jacob Lilyman.
 

Lego_Man_old

Guest
To use a pet phrase, plenty of "ill-informed" comments in that article.
 

Ryan_old

Guest
Methinks your copy/paste is broken. ;)

Best lineup: 1. Kevin Locke 2. Manu Vatuvei 3. Jerome Ropati 4. Joel Moon 5. Krisnan Inu 6. Brett Seymour 7. James Maloney 13. Feleti Mateo 12. Simon Mannering 11. Micheal Luck 10. Sam Rapira 9. Aaron Heremaia 8. Russell Packer
Interchange: 14. Shaun Berrigan 15. Ben Matulino 16. Lewis Brown 17. Jacob Lilyman.
I swear to your god that they must have edited the article after I cut and paste it. I would've had to have made a very conscious effort to switch those two players around. And there is still evidence to support that, ie Vatuvei on the wrong side.
 
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Fazz_old

Guest
When I read that team I actually laughed. WTF Was the writer thinking? Most of the players aren't even in the right positions.

The rest of it isn't too bad though. He should look up our results on the road from last year though, we were doing a bit better than usual. I agree we need to win games we're expected to win though, that issue popped up in the Knights game (I know it was just a trial but it means the issue is there to a degree)
 

sebastian_old

Guest
In reality we have become quite a consistant team so this "enigma" quotation comes across as a bit of a outdated generalisation/sterotype. In reality its been the top teams we have had to scratch a win against, give us a bad team & we'll more than likely win. We Warrior fans must be wary of any generalisation/sterotype as thats the path where the most ignorant start calling us the big team thats out on its feet.
 

Iafeta_old

Guest
Weird article particularly on the team, props playing lock, locks playing prop, halfbacks playing five eighth and vice versa and the incumbent and dead-set-cert fullback who the writer talks of lovingly as the guidance in tight matches is not even in the squad....

Funny stuff. That said there was a review that didn't have us as one of the seven teams to win the comp. I'd almost agree. A lot of things have to go our way, particularly somehow getting this travel bug problem fixed. With the big games predominantly in Australia, particularly the GF itself, I agree we always will find it tough.
 

Fazz_old

Guest
I think the travel bug is less of an issue then it's been previously. It's still there but traveling isn't an instant loss as it had been in the past. Other teams have the same travel bug, most notably the raiders and cowboys.
 

casso_old

Guest
The writer is in a time warp

Weird article particularly on the team, props playing lock, locks playing prop, halfbacks playing five eighth and vice versa and the incumbent and dead-set-cert fullback who the writer talks of lovingly as the guidance in tight matches is not even in the squad....

Funny stuff. That said there was a review that didn't have us as one of the seven teams to win the comp. I'd almost agree. A lot of things have to go our way, particularly somehow getting this travel bug problem fixed. With the big games predominantly in Australia, particularly the GF itself, I agree we always will find it tough.

this was the numbering a long time ago when it was different depending on which hemisphere of the world u were playing inThat bloke needs to keep up with the times lol
 

Northern_Union

Guest
It's also the old fashioned way going back to the early 80's when the lock wore the 8 jersey and the props 11 and 13 jersey.
 

Ryan_old

Guest
Sweet & Sour Sauce: https://www.nrl.com/2011-season-preview-warriors/tabid/10874/newsid/61456/default.aspx

ONE of the surprise packets of the 2010 season after storming home in the back half of the season to finish fifth in the home and away rounds, the Warriors head into the New Year full of optimism about what the coming months may hold.

A spending splurge prompted by the retirement of veteran prop Steve Price will see high-profile recruits Feleti Mateo and Krisnan Inu join the club this season while former Queensland and Australian utility Shaun Berrigan returns from a two-year stint with Hull in England to bolster the playmaking ranks.

Inevitably, the Warriors remain somewhat of an unknown quantity.

Typically slow starters, they must find greater consistency if they are to compete with the big boys in 2010 and the loss of Price as well as Kangaroos centre Brent Tate can’t be taken lightly.

However, the club’s emerging leaders – Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Jerome Ropati and Sam Rapira – were superb when Price was sidelined through injury last year and are the men who can lead the charge yet again in 2011.

Last year’s early exit from the finals may have masked just how far the Warriors have come in the past 12 months; rest assured they loom as one of the NRL’s genuine danger sides.


How They’ll Play It… The Warriors have always boasted a fearsome forward pack, but inevitably it is their ability to promote the football that has determined their fate from year to year. At their best they off-load mercilessly – allowing the likes of Lance Hohaia (91 tackle-breaks in 2010) and James Maloney (14 try assists) to wreak havoc up the middle.

That aside, however, the Warriors heavily favour their left edge where Jerome Ropati and Manu Vatuvei await to punish unwary defenders. The pair scored 27 tries between them in 2010.

Expect Plenty From… Brett Seymour. The former Brisbane and Cronulla playmaker missed 12 games last season with thumb and leg injuries but was impressive when available and formed an exciting partnership in the halves with up-and-coming five-eighth James Maloney. Seymour produced 12 try assists and four line-break assists in his 13 games in 2010.

They’re Going to Really Miss… Brent Tate. The veteran centre was the Warriors’ strike weapon on the right edge (73 tackle-breaks and 35 offloads) and a real leader among the side’s younger backs. He has departed for North Queensland (and has since suffered a season-ending knee injury) with former Eel Krisnan Inu – who has struggled to find his best form in recent seasons – taking his place.

Time To Stand Up… Feleti Mateo. The Warriors’ biggest signing heading into 2011 is a prodigious talent and a match-winner in his own right with his ability to break the line (68 busts in 2010) and lethal offloads (72). However, he has a habit of drifting in and out of games and his impact was negligible for Parramatta during their difficult 2010 season.

Exactly which Feleti Mateo turns out for the Warriors this year remains to be seen but if he is at his best he could well become their most important player.

Coach Watch… Under some pressure this time last year, the Warriors’ return to form in 2010 has seemingly secured Ivan Cleary’s tenure at the club for some time to come (barring complete disaster).

Entering his sixth season in charge, Cleary showed that he has both foresight and the courage of his convictions when he controversially gave Simon Mannering the club captaincy in 2010 in place of Price. As it turned out, injury sidelined Price for the entire season while Mannering slotted perfectly into his new role.

They’ll Be Boosted By… The arrival of former Broncos utility Shaun Berrigan. The Warriors have always struggled for depth in the playmaking positions but Berrigan, who has played 13 games for both Australia and Queensland, will provide more options alongside hooker Aaron Heremaia and halves Seymour and Maloney.

Predicted Finish … 4th.

Toyota Cup… The Warriors celebrated a famous win over South Sydney in last year’s Toyota Cup grand final but the task will be more difficult this year with a number of players – including Elijah Taylor, Matt Robinson, Shaun Johnson and Glen Fisiiahi – promoted to the NRL squad in 2011.

However, seven members of last year’s grand final side remain and coach John Ackland fully expects his brigade to be among the front-runners again this season. More importantly, watch for the fruits of last year’s labour to pay dividends in first grade as players break through.

Gains… Krisnan Inu (Eels), Feleti Mateo (Eels), Steve Rapira (Cowboys), Shaun Berrigan (Hull FC).

Losses… Patrick Ah Van (Bradford), Ian Henderson (Les Catalans), Mark Ioane (Raiders), Siuatonga Likiliki (Knights), Elijah Niko (Storm), Steve Price (retired), Jesse Royal (retired), Nafe Seluini (Panthers), Brent Tate (Cowboys).
 
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Ryan_old

Guest
Cream Sauce: https://www.theroar.com.au/2011/03/07/alan-nrl-preview-new-zealand-warriors-2011/

NRL Preview 2011: New Zealand Warriors

Boasting new buy Feleti Mateo, the New Zealand Warriors enter season 2011 as a premiership darkhorse, thanks to a roster that showed its true potential at the back end of last year.

Indeed the Warriors defied a horrendous start to last season to eventually finish in fifth position on the ladder, only to bow out in the first week of the finals.

Although the Warriors lost their finals match against the Gold Coast Titans, the upset victories achieved by the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders were the real knockout blows that left the 2002 grand finalists eliminated from the competition.

Despite the disappointment of their finals exit, last season was a successful one for the Warriors, given the fact the club was affected by serious injuries to key players throughout the course of 2010.

Captain Steve Price, new captain Simon Mannering, Brent Tate, Manu Vatuvei, Brett Seymour, Jacob Lillyman, Jerome Ropati, Elijah Taylor, Sam Rapira, Kevin Locke, Ian Henderson and Michael Luck all spent considerable time on the sidelines, with Price in particular having to retire from rugby league due to injury.

With such a mounting casualty ward, it was no surprise to see the Warriors languishing outside the top eight for the opening half of last season, winning only 5 of their first 13 matches.

The return of key players such as Mannering, Tate, Seymour and Vatuvei however was the antidote the Warriors needed to kick start a turnaround which saw them win 9 of their final 12 matches to secure a top eight birth.

With last season’s painful finals exit still fresh in their minds, the Warriors must start season 2011 well if they are a hope of snatching a top four birth and a crucial home final.

New Zealand’s draw to start this season however is nothing simple, with matches against last year’s finals combatants, the St George Illawarra Dragons, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers to feature inside the opening five rounds.

While a full strength Warriors outfit is more than a match for any NRL opposition, they will need to fix a few aspects of their game if they are give themselves the best chance of starting season 2011 on a positive note.

The Warriors last season ranked 11th and 13th in metres gained and line breaks made respectively. They were also ranked a lowly 10th for tackle breaks.

While injuries to key forwards played a part in those statistics in 2010, a healthy Warriors pack this year must carve out considerable territory if they are to keep the likes of the Dragons, Roosters and Tigers at bay in the early rounds.

This is where new buy Feleti Mateo will make a huge difference.

The former Eel is one of the most gifted ball playing forwards in the NRL, producing a competition high 72 offloads last season. Mateo also ranked third in the competition for tackle breaks made by a lock forward, behind only Corey Parker and Chris Heighington.

Indeed Mateo is the X-factor the Warriors have sorely lacked in the forwards, ever since the great Ali Lauitiiti departed the club back in 2004.

No doubt a fit and consistent Mateo will bring out the best in a talented Warriors backline which now makes do with the talented services of another former Eel in Krisnan Inu.

While Inu will add further flair to an exciting Warriors backline, it is the power and try scoring prowess of Manu Vatuvei that provides Ivan Cleary’s men with such an advantage over their opposition.

In just 19 matches last season, Vatuvei scored 20 tries to finish just one shy of joint top tryscorers Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Akuila Uate.

The man known as “The Beast” is impossible to stop close to the try-line, and with a player like Mateo creating second phase play, don’t be surprised if Vatuvei surpasses the 20 four pointers he scored last year.

For all the Warriors flair in attack however, one attribute of their game which improved immensely last season was their defence.

The Warriors conceded the fourth fewest tries of any side in the NRL last season, conceding an average of 3.6 tries a match. New Zealand also ranked 2nd in the league for metres conceded, trailing only the Penrith Panthers.

Their low error count throughout last season also helped the Warriors defensively, producing just 11.1 errors on average. Only the Dragons and Manly Sea Eagles were more tidy in possession.

The Warriors should have a lot going for them heading into season 2011 despite a tricky opening five weeks to open the year. The inclusion of Mateo should prove to be the missing link the Warriors need to finally take that extra step from being top eight hopefuls to premiership contenders.

Why they’ll win:

* Mateo and Vatuvei to cause havoc in the forwards and backline respectively
* The Warriors have improved greatly in defence

Why they won’t:

* Injuries always seem to strike key players
* Could struggle early on with tricky draw

TAB sportsbet odds
Premiership winner – $13.00
Wooden spoon – $23.00

Additions: Krisnan Inu, Feleti Mateo, Shaun Berrigan, Steve Rapira

Departures: Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Siuatonga Likiliki (Newcastle Knights), Ian Henderson (Catalans Dragons – Super League), Elijah Niko (Melbourne Storm), Patrick Ah Van (Bradford Bulls – Super League), Mark Ioane (Canberra), Nafe Seluini (Penrith), Steve Price (Retired), Jesse Royal (Retired).
 

Ryan_old

Guest
Blackberry Sauce: https://www.foxsports.com.au/league/nrl-premiership/foxsportscomaus-nrl-season-preview-with-laurie-daley-the-warriors-tipped-to-finish-fifth/story-fn2mcuj6-1226016898441

Foxsports.com.au continues its countdown to the NRL premiership season by previewing the Warriors, the team rugby league legend Laurie Daley predicts will finish fifth this year.

Warriors 2011 Squad: Aaron Heremaia, Alehana Mara, Ben Henry, Ben Matulino, Bill Tupou, Brett Seymour, Elijah Taylor, Feleti Mateo, Glen Fisiiahi, Isaac John, Ivan Penehe, Jacob Lillyman, James Gavet, James Maloney, Jeremy Latimore, Jerome Ropati, Joel Moon, Kevin Locke, Krisnan Inu, Lance Hohaia, Lewis Brown, Manu Vatuvei, Matt Robinson, Michael Luck, Russell Packer, Sam Rapira, Shaun Berrigan, Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering, Sione Lousi, Steve Rapira, Ukuma Ta’ai, Upa Poching.

New faces: Krisnan Inu (Parramatta), Feleti Mateo (Parramatta), Shaun Berrigan (Hull FC-Super League), Steve Rapira, (North Queensland Cowboys).

Out the door: Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Siuatonga Likiliki (Newcastle Knights), Ian Henderson (Catalans Dragons - Super League), Elijah Niko (Melbourne Storm), Patrick Ah Van (Bradford Bulls - Super League), Mark Ioane (Canberra), Nafe Seluini (Penrith), Steve Price (retired), Jesse Royal (retired).

Last year: Written off by many after a poor 2009 the Warriors made a strong start to 2010, winning two of their opening three matches, including a record thumping of Brisbane Broncos. They then lost six of their next nine before resurrecting their season with nine wins in the back half. Their 14 regular-season wins was the Warriors’ best effort in seven years. An excruciating week-one finals elimination was a sad way to end a promising campaign, being forced to await their fate after losing to Gold Coast Titans on the opening night.

Room for improvement: Setting the pace is something the Warriors haven’t done since those memorable teams of 2002 and 2003. That was the last time the Aucklanders had a winning percentage in the opening half of the season; their last three trips to the finals have all come on the back of late-season streaks. If the Warriors can break the trend and start winning early, there’s no telling what kind of record they could put together, and perhaps make a genuine run at the premiership.

Game breaker: James Maloney was an unknown entity at the start of 2010, but before long he was the epicentre of the Warriors’ offensive structure. Showing vision in attack that surprised most that had seen him at Melbourne Storm and Parramatta, Maloney covered both halves positions in Brett Seymour’s absence. Providing a stabilising playmaker role not seen at the club since Stacey Jones’s first incarnation, Maloney quickly became the man the Warriors couldn’t afford to lose.

Rising star: Glen Fisiiahi scored 20 tries in the 2010 Toyota Cup, but he’s probably more known for the one he didn’t score. A YouTube sensation after a premature try celebration turned embarrassing, those demons were dismissed when the Warriors won that match and the NYC grand final both against South Sydney. Last season Fisiiahi led the Toyota Cup in line breaks (27) and was second in kick-return metres (1116). This year he has his sights set on the right wing spot Ivan Cleary considers open in 2011.

Key arrival: On the surface, the acquisition of Feleti Mateo appears a match made in heaven. Mateo’s ball-playing skills and ability to attack the line put him among the league’s top offensive weapons. The Warriors have always prided themselves on attacking flair, but it’s something that hasn’t been as prevalent under Ivan Cleary’s reign. The arrival of Mateo adds a new dimension to a solid back row and could be the spark the Warriors’ attack needs.

Coach factor: The Warriors’ longest-serving coach, Ivan Cleary, is coming off his most successful regular season at the helm. While not the most charismatic or eloquent of mentors, Cleary has strong ties to both the club and the city and his consistency in results is something the Warriors faithful have grown to value. With two years to run on his contract (already extended on three occasions) there shouldn’t be any undue pressure.

Fox Sports Stats: How far the Warriors go in the competition is usually dictated by their form on the road. In 2009 they managed just two victories away from home, but in 2010 they won seven of their 12 regular season matches in Australia. If the Warriors can have similar success in 2011 they will be well on their way to finals football again.

Laurie Daley says: "The Warriors have made some strong recruits and appear to be another team on the rise. They played without Steven Price last year, meaning a lot of their young front-rowers got exposed before time, which will help them become better players this year. Shaun Berrigan is a very dangerous player; if Feleti Mateo can get to his best he will add creativity to this side. They possess a hard-working forward pack and are also starting to become mentally tougher than they were a couple of seasons ago. I think they're on the verge of a special season. A genuine chance."

The Adjudicator says: "As Jimmy Cliff once sang, "I can see Cleary now", and the outlook is pretty bright for the Warriors in 2011. That is presuming they can survive through to round two without losing half their squad to variations of the same hamstring injury. And more teams follow Cronulla's lead by moving their home games to the Warriors' own backyard. Yeah who am I kidding, they'll struggle to make more than a sneaky one-week finals appearance but with even more strike power than usual they'll no doubt look good doing it."

Fantasy banker and darkhorse: Injury is the only thing that will stop Manu Vatuvei (Outside Back, $400K) being an absolute Fantasy points machine. And while it’s been an issue before, Vatuvei never seems to have trouble bouncing back. His 20 tries and 19 linebreaks helped him amass 732 points last year, placing him among the Fantasy elite. Ukuma Ta’ai’s (Prop, $200K) role has grown season upon season and while he’ll rarely start, he’ll nearly always be in the 17. With 370 points in 2010 - off the back of five tries and his share of defence- Ta’ai represents good value.
 
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Kabba_old

Guest
I laughed when I saw Mateo at prop in the first article. Obviously a mistake of some sort as has been pointed out. Centres looks like the weakest area in my opinion.

P.S. these sauce (like 'source' hurr) jokes are horrible, please stop, it's not original and not funny.
 

sebastian_old

Guest
Kabba stay out of the serious business, we let you roll around here as a guest but when you question our sauce jokes your out of line. I am not a moderator but you have been warned. :D
 

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