General Warriors need to dig deep for credibility

sebastian_old

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Warriors need to dig deep for credibility
06 August 2006

By MATTHEW RIDGE
Early this season, I suggested the Warriors losing four points would not be a factor in their results: because they would miss the play-offs by more than four.


With four rounds to go in the regular season, they are second-last with 16 points from eight wins, with a run home against the Cowboys (h), Melbourne (a), Roosters (h) and Broncos (a).

With Sione Faumuina out for the season and no chance now of making the finals, the team will have to dig deep to get wins against sides building for the finals.

The media suggested the Warriors' 2005 season was a disaster. After consecutive seasons of not making the finals, swords were drawn. The CEO and general manager resigned, and after a end-of-season performance review, the head coach and football manager were shown the door. The 2005 Warriors had finished 11th on 24 points, and were two victories outside the finals.

So where to from here? The franchise labels itself a development club, yet most of its recent signings from the player market have been development players from rival clubs rather than established first graders.

We have been told there is a great depth of talent coming through. Hame Lauaki has been with the Warriors four seasons, has been injured this year, and there are still huge question marks over him; Evarn Tuimavave played a handful of good games, is touted as the next big thing, but doesn't seem to have the toughness to play that role. Sonny Fai: What happened? Cooper Vuna is still struggling to gain the maturity required at NRL level. The jury is still out on Sam Rapira. To be fair, Patrick Ah Van looks promising and will do well. Simon Mannering is playing like a 100-game veteran, has vision, and is smart.

The Warriors this year had Steve Price, Ruben Wiki, Awen Guttenbeil, Wairangi Koopu, Clinton Toopi, Brent Webb, Faumuina, Nathan Fien and Tony Martin - nine players either with, or within spitting distance, of 100 games.

I don't think any other NRL club has this much experience, yet the coaching staff continue to suggest they have a young team.

We are expected to accept comments each week about them learning, being there for experience and that it is a big mountain to climb.

But unfortunately for coach Ivan Cleary, if the team does not finish the season strongly, he will have the worst win-loss record for a Warriors coach in a completed season.

Hold your horses: I'm not suggesting they should get rid of anyone. But enough of the smoke and mirrors - this has been a very ordinary season.

Cleary's post-match press conferences remind me of Dean Barker during the America's Cup - alone. Where is his assistant John Ackland, who was very visible at the start of the season with his Jack Gibson-style hafltime comments for Sky TV? I bet Cleary wishes his old mate Kevin Campion was still around.

AdvertisementAdvertisementWho is the decision-maker? Possibly John Hart, who is the independent board director, football director, the mentor to Ivan Cleary, player retainer/negotiator I am told, and club elder statesman. Harty reminds me of a car park in the city: all care taken, however, not responsible for losses.

If ever this club needs to pull together, it's now. A finishing result of 14th would not reflect some of the great performances this season.

The last four games will require strong leadership but where will it come from? Season 2006 is not over - there is still much to be learned from this year.


Matthew Ridge is a former Manly, Warriors and Kiwis star.
 

sebastian_old

Guest
Dale is a class above Ridge, & considering the disasterous actions before the season i think the boys have dug deep for most of the year. The one thing i agree with him on is Simon Mannering, Simon is a class act.
 

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