The representative break may have given us all time to regroup, time to cool off, time to gather our thoughts, but it certainly hasn’t stopped the flow of questions directed towards Warrior Nation. Is there a drug problem at Mt Smart? Were the players hung out to dry? Has Konrad Hurrell played his last game for the Warriors in the NRL? Was the punishment harsh enough? Should they have been selected this week? Are the players’ actions simply the product of their environment, of a negative culture at the club? How long has it been going on for? Has Andrew McFadden lost the support of the players? Who is to blame? I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
Seven rounds into 2016 and the Warriormobile has made its usual spluttering start along the NRL’s Competition Road. A win against the Bulldogs breathed some life into the old girl but, as Shaun Johnson reminds us, it counts for very little unless the men from Mt Smart can keep their foot on the gas. As the first third of the season makes its way into the rear-view mirror, it does feel as though there’s a need for the Warriors to find some consistency soon or run the risk of not making their Finals destination before Mad Monday arrives. But, then, needing is one thing and getting is another.
It’s only in the minutes after the final whistle blows, when you lean back from the edge of your seat, mute the TV and take a deep breath, that you realise how fast your heart is beating. Very briefly you consider whether this kind of carry-on is doing any long term damage to your health.
As you wait for the after-match interviews — your reward of sorts, a few moments both to bask in the glory and suck in the big ones — the rhythm slows, although it will be some time before your heart gets back to its normal resting speed.
The two points are in the bank, the camera focuses in on Monty Betham’s shiny head and you soak in the highlights. Rewind. Play. Pause. How did he do that? Play. You beauty! Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
On Saturday night, at the home of rugby league in New Zealand, I spoke ill of people whom I have never even met before. I used curse words on multiple occasions and I may have even taken the Lord’s name in vain. I said some things I now regret, although it is not likely my words were heard by Gavin Reynolds, Chris Sutton or Luke Patten.
I lost my temper, Father, but at the time I felt wronged. It felt like these people were conspiring against me, against our boys, against our country. If it makes it any better, it wasn’t just me — there were another 16,000 people booing and shouting. It wasn’t fair, Father. Why were they allowed to hold down for so long in the tackle but not us? Why did the bunker have to stick its nose in where it didn’t belong? And what was that for, ref? C’mon, they’re offside! Continue reading Inside the confessional