General Warriors stay in top 8 contention



Just as you start writing off the Warriors, they confound predictions and give hope to their long-suffering fans.
They are still a long shot to make the playoffs but the fact they have won their last two matches as well as the two points they picked up from the bye last weekend still means they're a shot chance.
Ivan Cleary's team had what was considered a relatively easy assignment last night, taking on a Cowboys side who had lost their last nine games. Their last victory was the 48-20 win over the Warriors in Townsville in round six.
They were also missing seven regular starters through injury and suspension, including Matt Bowen, Carl Webb and new Warriors recruit Jacob Lillyman but it also meant they had nothing to lose given their season effectively ended weeks ago.
The Warriors also know all about banana-skin matches, having been upset by a Rabbitohs side who couldn't buy a win five weeks ago. They also had a reminder that nothing is certain in the NRL with the Titans and Knights upstaging their more fancied opponents on Friday night.
The Warriors, however, did enough to collect the points to keep their season alive and ensure the presentation for Ruben Wiki reaching 300 first-grade games was indeed something worth celebrating.
They had a few nervy moments and the game wasn't safe until seven minutes from time, when Micheal Luck scored, but the victory was the most important thing and it was only the second time this season they have achieved consecutive wins.
Like the game against the Bunnies, the Warriors produced an excellent opening 30 minutes of football but couldn't convert it into enough points to control the match.
Their defence was aggressive and they did something they haven't done enough of all season - attack with players in motion.
The ball carrier had multiple options, which put uncertainty into the minds of their opponents and they found joy spreading the ball from one side of the park to the other.
Simon Mannering and Sonny Fai were always threats on the left edge with their size and speed.
It was through that route they scored their first try in the 16th minute - Mannering passing to Fai to bustle over - and also their second 10 minutes later, when Grant Rovelli threw a good cutout pass for Aidan Kirk to score when the defence were waiting for Fai.
The home side was also aided by the fact referee Sean Hampstead played a true 10m, not the 12-15m other whistleblowers do, which meant the Warriors could keep a close watch on playmaker Johnathan Thurston.
Three of his first-half kicks were charged down and he often found he had little time to weave his magic with a defender in his face.
For all the Warriors' dominance in the first half, however, they went to the break leading only 8-4 after John Williams scored right on halftime.
The Warriors' intensity had dropped and errors had crept into their game to let the Cowboys back into it.
Thurston couldn't be contained for the entire night and he created Williams' second in the 46th minute with a clever chip kick and he looked increasingly dangerous as the match wore on.
The Cowboys' lead, however, was short-lived, as first Jerome Ropati and then Mannering touched down.
Mannering's was courtesy of another deft Rovelli pass. The little halfback can be average at times but every so often produces plays that would confirm him as a top-drawer player if he could do it more often.
Many thought the worst when Ashley Graham crossed 20 minutes from time to reduce the gap to 18-14 but Luck's try finally broke their resistance.
With such a poor points differential, the Warriors probably need another five wins from their remaining eight games to make the playoffs. But unlike the Cowboys, they can still dream about a trip to the Promised Land.
Warriors 24 (S. Fai, A. Kirk, J. Ropati, S. Mannering, M. Luck tries, L. Hohaia 2 gls) Cowboys 14 (J. Williams try). HT: 8-4.
The Junior Warriors maintained their recent good form in the Toyota Cup with a 32-12 win over the Cowboys in the early game at Mt Smart Stadium last night. The win, their sixth in their last seven games, lifted them to third on the table midway through the weekend's games. They now have 24 points after 16 rounds and travel to take on the Bulldogs, who were in fourth, next weekend.


League: Defence boosts Warriors' confidence

2:28PM Sunday July 13, 2008
By Robert Lowe

Coach Ivan Cleary is liking what he sees as the New Zealand Warriors continue to shore up what was a major frailty in the early half of their National Rugby League season.
The Warriors took their time before subduing struggling North Queensland in Auckland last night, with the scoreboard being close for much of the encounter.
It needed a Micheal Luck try seven minutes from time to seal a 24-14 victory over the league's bottom club.
But Cleary said he felt for much of the contest that his players would finish on top.
"I thought we were going to win it, most of the game, to be honest," he said.
"I thought we controlled things really well."
A key reason was the Warriors' defensive effort which, apart from a couple of costly blemishes, left Cleary satisfied.
While the Warriors still have one of the biggest points-against tallies in the competition, they have managed to avoid leaking the 30-plus points a game they once did with regularity.
"I think our defence has been pretty good over the last month," Cleary said.
"We're still conceding tries kind of softly. Apart from that, our defence has certainly improved from earlier in the year."
The result over the Cowboys kept the Warriors in touch with the top eight, but Cleary indicated that the focus was less on the playoffs than on simply building momentum.
"If we get that, the rest will come," he said.


and just a quote from another article:

There will still perhaps be just Ivan Cleary, his players and their mums believing the Warriors are good enough to get five wins from their last eight games against the Bulldogs, Rabbitohs, Dragons and Eels away and the Storm, Broncos, Sharks and Panthers at home.


Warriors agent rubbishes rift rumours

By AARON LAWTON - Sunday News | Sunday, 13 July 2008

Darryl Mather the leading Australian player agent who manages the affairs of Warriors stars Grant Rovelli and Michael Witt has crushed rumours the two are being driven out of the club.

Rovelli and Witt are contracted until the end of 2009 but speculation has surfaced in recent weeks suggesting that one or both were told to look elsewhere for a deal next year.
The paper talk appears to have intensified after revelations new signing Joel Moon was promised the No 6 jersey when he arrives in Auckland next year.
But Mather is keen to stop the rumour mill in its tracks.
"The club hasn't formally told me to seek offers elsewhere for Grant or Michael at all," he told Sunday News last night.
"The Warriors have bought a new player in Joel Moon, which will certainly put pressure on those two for next year.
"Grant and Michael have contracts for 2009 and I imagine a move to another club would only take place if either one of the players or myself requested to look at our options."
Mather said Warriors administrators had been nothing but professional in recent dealings with him.
"The club have been fabulous about this actually," he said.
"I have read some of the rumours in the New Zealand papers and I can tell you right now, nobody from the Warriors has ever, ever said to me `Grant's got to go or Michael's got to go'.
"The rumour certainly doesn't relate to what is going on with real life. I just can't work out where this scurrilous notion that either of them are being driven out of the club is coming from."
He said if either player wanted a move, they would talk with the Warriors.
With Moon set to cross the Tasman next year and the club's well-documented attempts to sign either Tigers halfback Mathew Head or young Storm sensation Liam Foran next year, Mather admits the pressure is going to be on his clients.
"We'd be deceiving ourselves if we said everything has gone as good as we would have hoped this year," he said.
"The Warriors obviously won't be too pleased with how their season has panned out.
"It would be fair to say that at times Grant and Michael by their own admission probably haven't quite hit the heights they were hoping to.
"You can see why the club would want to build depth in the halves. It's pro-footy. You want to make sure that your squad has real depth."
Mather said he had not actively solicited offers for Witt or Rovelli for next season.
But he said he would not be doing his job if he did not put his feelers out.
"In my business it always pays to keep an eye for opportunities for your clients regardless of their contractual situation," he said.
"I haven't overtly discussed Michael or Grant in my travels but it's good practice to keep an eye out for the next opportunity that may come along.
"If something came up, I guess I would go knocking back to the club."
Neither Witt nor Rovelli had formally asked Mather to go hunting for an offer at another club for the 2009 season.
Warriors CEO Wayne Scurrah echoed Mather's sentiments and said the Warriors were not about to throw Rovelli or Witt on the scrapheap.
"We're committed to honouring anyone's contract. We would never force someone out before their contract lapses," Scurrah said. "We are committed to honouring their (Rovelli and Witt's) contracts."
As for whether the Warriors would grant either of the playmakers a release if asked, Scurrah said he would cross that bridge if the time came.
"That hasn't happened so it's hard to comment on," he said.


There will still perhaps be just Ivan Cleary, his players and their mums believing the Warriors are good enough to get five wins from their last eight games against the Bulldogs, Rabbitohs, Dragons and Eels away and the Storm, Broncos, Sharks and Panthers at home.

Add me to the list of coaches, players and Mums as a believer! :D

We can definitley still make the finals!!!!


An article from from last week leading into the game vs the Cows. But thought I'd post it up, coz it's quite funny

Tate not afraid of babysitting

New Zealand Warriors centre Brent Tate is looking forward to babysitting duties, but not for another eight weeks.

Tate's wife, Lani, is due to deliver their first child in two months and the Queensland State of Origin league star yesterday laughed off suggestions he will be honing his minding skills on rookie centre partner Sonny Fai, 20, who starts alongside him for the first time against bottom-of-the-table North Queensland Cowboys in NRL round-18 action at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
Tate says the strapping Fai, rated one of the best young athletes in the competition, does not need a minder. "Sonny is a real athlete and a great player," said Tate. "Most of the young guys who come into first grade these days know what to do. I don't think there's anything you can really say to them that they don't know, apart from a few positional things.
"The young guys who come in are so confident, they just don't seem fazed by anything and it's a great thing."
Fai played 80 minutes in the Warriors' 28-26 win over West Tigers two weeks ago, scoring a try and making a scintillating touch-line break to set up fullback Lance Hohaia's vital second-half try.
Tate, a standout in Queensland's 2-1 Origin series triumph, was impressed by what he saw.
"I don't think he'll be a centre for ever but at the moment he's doing a really good job for us. If he can keep playing well it will be great for us against the Cowboys."
As for the league allegiance of his first born, the Moron baby suit is ready for fitting.
"We're really excited about the baby. I'm just sleeping as much as I can at the moment. We're just nervously waiting for the day," said Tate.
He has been chipped about Auckland being the birthplace but vowed if the baby is a boy he will have to play his first junior league game in Queensland to qualify for the Morons.
"It's better having the baby over here than in New South Wales."
Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary was also upbeat about Fai's potential.
"I was very encouraged by what Sonny did against the Tigers. He's got the speed and showed that he's got the nous to play out there."
Cleary also hinted injured fullback Wade McKinnon was a chance of returning to first grade before the end of the season.
Expected to be out all year after a knee reconstruction, Cleary said yesterday that: "Wade is still tracking OK. When he gets to full training we'll have some kind of idea whether he's going to be able to play (this season) or not. He's still two or three weeks away from that."
The Jonathan Thurston-led Cowboys have lost nine straight since mauling the Warriors 48-20 in round six and are battling a nightmare injury list, including prop Carl Webb, fullback Matt Bowen, and new Warriors signing backrower Jacob Lillyman. Add suspended centre Luke O'Donnell to that list and this is a match the Warriors should win well at home.
But Tate expects a dog-fight.
"Any team with Thurston in it is going to be dangerous. They weren't going real well when we played them in Townsville and they gave us a hiding. I expect nothing but a tough game from the Cowboys."
The Warriors gained two vital points from last week's bye but still sit three points outside the top eight play-offs with nine rounds remaining.
They spurted into the top four last season with a withering late run, but Tate says the top eight has been pushed into the background.
"If we keep preparing well and getting two points in these critical games we'll edge a little bit closer to the eight. As a group we're just worrying about each week as it comes."
With Tate's return, Jerome Ropati has been named on a five-man bench with prop Sam Rapira, who makes way for Steve Price, Evarn Tuimavave, Ben Matulino and standoff Michael Witt.
Apart from Price and Tate slotting into their regular positions, the starting line-up is the same as that used against the Tigers with Grant Rovelli at halfback, Nathan Fien at standoff and Simon Mannering in the second row. The Warriors will need to work Queensland game three match-winner Thurston over in defence to limit his potency.Fairfax Media

kiwi man_old

Bulldogs, Rabbitohs, Dragons and Eels away and the Storm, Broncos, Sharks and Panthers at home

out of those remaining 8 games i believe we can just do it! some of those games are very winable.. its funny the easier games are our away games and the harder ones being the home
the games against the teams below us are absolute must wins.. and we have always been known to fire up for the broncos..
fingers crossed but the simple way to put it is if we are good enough we will make it..


The fact that we're playing the Storm and Broncos gives me more hope that we can win those then if they were aways games.
You never know with the warriors tho :D


When we beat the Bulldogs this week......... :D

It'll be a big test of whether we can make it in finals footy, when we play the Storm the following week! To be tested up against a top side like that, and if we could manage to beat them, I think we can say to the competition, here we come! :)

I can't wait for that game! When we win this week, no doubt a big crowd will turn up for that game!!!

Bulldogs first though, can't get too far ahead of myself! :D


Yeah and with the Doggies winning this week they'll be very bouyant

On the flipside they won't have the pressure of 5 straight losses on them as they would if they'd lost this week. Hopefully they show up a little too confident...and without SBW :D


On the flipside they won't have the pressure of 5 straight losses on them as they would if they'd lost this week. Hopefully they show up a little too confident...and without SBW :D

Na, It'll be all the more sweeter when we beat them with SBW!!! :D



Whats with making the finals? I want to win the comp, it wont happen this year, but hopefully 09 is our year.

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