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.
NRL: Return of Hurrell is shrouded in mystery: Konrad Hurrell is back for the Warriors but there is mystery ov… https://t.co/AUIAEH3s9K
— Rugby League (@RugbyLeagueFeed) March 23, 2016
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.
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.
— Stuff.co.nz Sport (@NZStuffSport) March 24, 2016
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.
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.