I hope you partied hard on Saturday night. I hope you threw your arms in the air and howled with delight. I hope you jumped up and down. Hugged the person next to you. Maybe even got a little emotional. It’s been a long time since Warrior Nation tasted this winning feeling. Can you even remember 23 June 2017? It certainly feels like a lifetime ago to me.
The silly season is firmly upon us. Day after day we wake up to rumours of player movement that range somewhere between the truth and fake news. It’s terrible. It’s only Round 8! But, despite the NRL transfer process currently being an unwanted distraction from the regular season, unfortunately we seem to be stuck with it, at least in the short term. So, instead of complaining about what a farce it is that Kieran Foran has played just three games for the club and already has to make a decision about whether he wants to stay for another year, below is a list of all the current Warriors off-contract at the end of 2017 and my arguments for whether the club should hold them or fold them. Continue reading Silly Season
Some might argue that altitude training is best scheduled for the preseason. The theory makes perfect sense: build your fitness to a high level before the games start, and then simply maintain and recover during the gruelling 26-week grind that makes up the regular season. But, even if you only take a passing interest in the Warriors, when you consider their results in recent years, an alarming pattern shines brighter than a full moon in the middle of the desert: year after year of slow starts and mid-season surges, followed by catastrophic collapse after catastrophic collapse as the finish line approaches. Clearly the status quo isn’t working. All signs point towards the need for some new tactics.
So, after spending four rounds based at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA, I return to Warrior Nation with both a renewed lung capacity and a sense of endurance that certainly did not exist upon my departure. Again, you may wonder why anyone would voluntarily decide to leave the comfortable shores of Warrior Nation from Round 4 to Round 7, why anyone would forego two opportunities to sit in hope with nervous excitement in the East Stand for winnable games against Parramatta and the Gold Coast. To give that up for a little extra fitness sounds crazy, I know, but if you dig a little deeper, the rationale becomes clear.
The article below is the final instalment in the NRL Warrior 2017 Storylines series, where we ponder the potential storylines of the upcoming season. If you missed them, click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4
26 June 2017
Young Warriors making a huge impact
With the injury to Ben Matulino and the departure of cult hero Charlie Gubb to the North Queensland Cowboys, there were big question marks surrounding the strength of the Warriors’ forward pack going into Round 1. What good would their star-studded backline be without forwards to set the platform? But week after week, Albert Vete and Sam Lisone — affectionately known by the Mt Smart faithful as ‘The Hungry Hungry Hippos’ — have stepped up to the plate. Their stellar play has earned praise from all quarters, as they regularly find themselves in discussions regarding the most-improved players of 2017. ‘There’s no better one-two punch in the NRL right now than Albert Vete and Sam Lisone,’ said Fox Sports commentator Andrew Voss. ‘Albert’s first hit-up is must-see television, and the things that Sam Lisone can do with the ball — sometimes it feels like the Warriors have got two Shaun Johnsons on the field at once. You’d think there’d be some kind of rule against that.’