At the halfway point in the season, the Warriors find themselves in 5th, with eight wins and only four losses. It’s their best start to a year since 2002 — a year that finished with a minor premiership and a date at the big dance. That’s impressive company, but with a losing record over their past seven games, the worries of recent years are creeping back. So are the wheels falling off? Or is it finally our year? The NRL Warrior tries to make sense of it all with a good old-fashioned debate. Glass Half Full is arguing for optimism. Glass Half Empty is arguing that things aren’t as good as the ladder suggests.
There was once a time when I spent many hours of my life watching Extreme Makeover. Sometimes it wasn’t just Extreme Makeover, but shows that were even more extreme, like The Swan. Before you get the wrong idea, yes I did have better things to be doing with my time, and no I don’t think that women (or men for that matter) should judge their self-worth by holding themselves up to unachievable standards of beauty.
As Isaiah Papalii touched down for the first time in his NRL career, a spark ignited in my brain. Maybe it was the cold air restricting blood flow to my vital organs, but for a split second I thought I was onto something revolutionary, something that could change the game of rugby league, and in turn the direction of the New Zealand Warriors, forever.
It’s 4pm on Sunday 11 September and the sun decorates Mt Smart Stadium with light as we huddle together in our seats. The field is all but empty; isolated security guards dot the corners while cheerleaders fan out from the home tunnel in V-formation. The scene looks quiet, a calm before the storm you could say, but the turf is the only silent part of this ground — a constant, excited murmur is sporadically interrupted by bursts of raucous cheering as each new name from the team list is announced on the big screens at either end.
There are the inevitable boos as the opposition emerges, but the background hum of chatter returns quickly as the sweet sound of drums prompts Warrior Nation to rise as one.