25 April 2015
Dear Messrs Doyle, McFadden and Mannering,
I would like to start this letter by saying I have been a fan of your club since Dean Bell led the Warriors onto Ericsson Stadium for the first time in 1995. I was just a boy then, but I was captured by the magic of a real team to call my own. I will always remember how proud I felt that day. That reason alone is enough for me to say ‘I am, and always will be, a Warriors fan’. #WarriorsForever you could say.
But, after recent performances, I feel compelled to write you this letter, primarily to ask a question of your playing group. It is not a question I take pleasure in asking. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is a question that squeezes my heart with every push of the keyboard.
Do your players pull on the jersey with as much pride as I pull on mine?
I realise that will be hard to answer. You do not know me, nor are you able to assess a level of pride by any tangible measure.
I also realise that there are many in the playing group who could answer ‘Yes’ to that question. I can appreciate that it is possible to try your best and fail. But, since rugby league is a team game, and you must win together and lose together, the playing group must also be held accountable together.
I am just a fan. I sit in the stand as a passive observer of the action I see in front of me. On a rugby league field, I have achieved nothing. I have no skill, no strength, no speed. I do not have the ability to make 15,000 people cheer in unison.
However, I believe that if your players respected the jersey as much as I do, this club would right now be at the top of the NRL ladder. There is no doubt in my mind. It is you and your players who take the hits, who feel the physical pain, but no one could deny that I am hurting.
I do not know how you teach people to bleed for the jersey — perhaps it is only something that comes from within. But attitude is what makes a great team. Attitude turns a contender into a champion.
So, Jim, Andrew and Simon, I trust you will pass on my question to your players. I hope you, and they, will take it seriously. I ask that you remind them that, although our criticism can sometimes be harsh, we love this team. We want nothing more than for each and every player in your squad to achieve all of their wildest dreams. We fans have not earned our jerseys in the same way that your players have, but we fans have earned our jerseys, and all we ask is that you respect them.