Sunday 18 February 2018 / 09:40 PM

Six Up The Middle – Where the Warriors are going wrong

The Warriors entered the season as one of the premiership favourites yet are winless after three rounds. Here’s where they are falling short.

Outside Back Selections

Picking both Blake Ayshford and Jono Wright ahead of Konrad Hurrell is the height of stupidity and says a lot about coach Andrew McFadden. Hurrell can be lazy and has his defensive issues but he is a player who opponents fear. Rival players rub their hands in glee when they play Ayshford and Wright.



The Captaincy

McFadden made the strange decision to take the captaincy away from long-term skipper Simon Mannering and hand it to Hoffman. Mannering has gone about his business but the captaincy has not sat well with Hoffman, who has arguably played the three worst games of his career to start the year.


The Halves

Shifting Shaun Johnson to five-eighth has taken away his control of the game. His combination with Jeff Robson is not working at all. Johnson is struggling with confidence. Robson, an organiser regarded as a strong defender, has missed more tackles than any player in the NRL this year. It is time to move Tuimoala Lolohea into the halves.



Go Forward

The Warriors are one of just three clubs that doesn’t have a starting prop push for over 100 metres. Ben Matulino is the only New Zealand forward to average 100 metres a game yet for some reason he is starting off the bench. Bodene Thompson is the only forward to average more than a tackle break a game. The Warriors just aren’t laying a foundation for success.


Hooking Woes

The Warriors were pegged to have one of the best rakes in the game when they signed Issac Luke from Souths. In two games he ranks bottom-five in average metres and has just two tackle breaks to his name. He missed last week with injury and is again out. Success starts with the No.9 and the Warriors just aren’t getting anything from their rake.



Effort can go a long way to hiding many of a team’s other deficiencies. It has been a major issue this year – again – for New Zealand. They started the season with a meek effort against the Tigers and have never really recovered with full 80-minute efforts just not there. Until they put in for the full match, they will be pretenders, not contenders. 

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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