It’s not often I feel good about a loss. In general, losing leaves a sour taste in the mouth that doesn’t go down well, but this week I find myself feeling more than satisfied, almost euphoric, licking my lips even, as if the team bus stopped at Wendy’s on the way back to Mt Smart. I’m telling you right now, get ready for finals football, Warrior Nation, this team is the real deal.
Going into this game I was nervous. I don’t like the water at the best of times, but the thought of Deep Sea Diving with Sharks on a 10-game winning streak sent a shiver up my spine. For the entire month of June there’s been a smile on my face — winners are grinners after all — but all the while that voice at the back of my head has been whispering. ‘Just wait ‘til you play someone good. Wait until you play a team who can attack, then let’s see what happens.’
We’d caught Brisbane at a good time, beat an awful Knights side, then scraped home against a Roosters team who seem to have forgotten that they are the same club who have been Minor Premiers for the past three seasons. There were encouraging signs among those three victories, but Cronulla was to be the true test to see how these men from Mt Smart stacked up against the big boys of the NRL. If you’ve been on this Warriors rollercoaster as long as I have, you will appreciate the need to sometimes fear the worst, you will understand that worrying about your hopes and dreams being savagely torn to shreds by a frenzy of Sharks is an entirely legitimate concern. Continue reading Tasty Loss
For the past two weeks, the Warriors have been splashing around the shallow end of the NRL pool. First they dive-bombed the kids from Newcastle, then they effectively drowned the Roosters’ season. Now, on Saturday evening, the men from Mt Smart head out into the big, bad ocean for a face-to-face encounter with the NRL’s deadliest creature of 2016.
Any team that wins 10 games in a row is one to be respected, but this Cronulla side looks particularly fierce. After 15 weeks of the season, they find themselves atop the NRL ladder, having already taken a chunk out of the other teams currently circling the Top 4. In Valentine Holmes and Jack Bird, they boast two of the most exciting young players in the competition, and with the likes of Fifita, Gallen, Ennis, Lewis and Wade Graham, their forward pack is among the best in the business. Once they smell blood in the water, look out. Continue reading Deep Sea Diving
Mount Smart Stadium is brutal on a winter’s evening. It’s dark before 5pm, it’s freezing cold. You leave your members’ scarf sitting on the kitchen table at home. And, just as the game is about to kick-off, a light drizzle falls from the sky.
We’re not far past the halfway mark of the season, but when you’re on the edges of the Top 8, every game takes on greater importance. There’s a strange sense hovering over Warrior Nation that the club is back on track after consecutive wins, but every shred of confidence has an air of fragility — we’ve been through this all before, we know how quickly the air can fall out of the balloon.
The game itself struggles to provide much respite from the chill of the night. The Warriors are down 2–4 at the half, the offence looks disjointed and the crowd is quiet but restless, murmurings of discontent ripple around the ground. Continue reading Just enough is good enough
Part of me feels like I should be more annoyed. Furious even. Saturday evening’s loss to Penrith leaves the Warriors with only four wins from the first ten games, in a year when we were supposed to be challenging for the title. Instead, with almost half the season in the rear-view mirror, we sit 13th on the ladder, the off-field drama won’t go away and the pressure on both the coaching staff and the playing group gets more intense by the week. One star recruit is injured and done for the season, the other lost his Kiwis jumper and had his starting spot taken by a 20-year-old debutant.
We can all agree that the situation is less than ideal. Continue reading Drinking the Kool-Aid