Warriors Brief

02/03/2014

Warriors Brief

I wrote this for season 2013 – “the team making the fewest errors will win today”. Don’t you wish you had a dollar for every pre-match expert spruiking this one at you!? I reckon the Warriors are much more likely to win with this group players if they CREATE more chances, remove the focus of what might happen if errors are caused, just GO FOR IT”

Now I didn’t mean CREATE more chances all the time when I wrote that last season and don’t meant it now either.

.And this on rating the team – Improving all aspects of a 2012 team that lost its way is important. Where they have focused in preseason training might be obvious after a few weeks. My personal feel would be in year 1 lets score in the high 20s or more to win games rather than attempt to keep our opponents to less than 14”.

And this – “Having said that I feel Warriors staff will need to quickly address the tackling and general defensive skills of many of the youngsters in their squad – starting with half back Johnson”.

It all stands again for 2014 from where I am looking

If this is the “Strongest Line-Up” according to Big League we can see a very similar team  to last season plus Sharks back rower Bukuya and Tomkins.

1 Tomkins

2 Laumape

3 Nielsen

4 Hurrell

5 Vatuvei

6 Leuluai

7 Johnson

8 Rapira

9 Friend

10 Matagi

11 Mannering

12 Bukuya

13 Mateo

14 Lillyman

15 Lousi, Sione

16 Matulino

17 Henry

October Outcome:

The name of the game is winning. That’s win enough games to make the playoffs and then win one more 3 or 4 times. I don’t think this young edged team can defend better than they can attack. If they improve their defence by dropping from 97 conceded in 2013 to under 90 and get their attack spot on with an increase of 10 to 15 tries (from 88 to over a hundred) they could claw their way into the playoffs.

I can’t tip them to make the 8 until I see what they have planned for the season. What is their attitude to attack (and defence too especially those edges!)

I am not as confident as others seem to be about the level of improvement the Warriors are likely to get in 2014. The extravagant attacking talents of Johnson and Tomkins will certainly be a handful for all opponents but the Warriors forward pack does not smack of dominance. Without that prevailing opportunity to play “front foot footy” those attacking weapons can be negated much more easily.

I think Johnson needs to work it out soon and I think Tomkins is a very smart footy player so might learn fast on the new job in this intensity only the NRL produces.  They will have to accept that no-one can waltz their way through this league with fancy footwork and flick passes. It’s a tough grind for a whole season which they too must play their part in in attitude and application.

In the more basic areas of half back play for the team attack last season Johnson did well and can build on it with experience as assistance. He had a total of 19 try assists and scored 10 tries! For comparison Maloney and Pearce each topped NRL rankings with 25.

One aspect the Kiwi half can improve in his team play is try assists from kicks. His total last season was 7 – for comparison Mullen ranked 1 in NRL with 20 kick try assists and Cronk was next with 16.

Tomkins will be tested in his number one area of damage creation in Super League – kick returns. NRL teams will be well prepared (and if they are not they will pay a savage price). His long-strided running is a technique issue that the gorillas charging down following the kick will rag-doll and bum-rush him unless he can learn fast how to shorten stride, change direction and get down before those defenders “catch” him under the arms. It could get ugly from there for the lean bodied Pommie.

For more information on this and other quality coaching click here

Every season in modern NRL at least one team surprises almost everyone with a terrific transition from also rans to play-offs.  Here are a couple of notable examples:

Roosters 2009 wooden spooners to GF in 2010

And in 2013 it was a stirring finish by the Cowboys only to lose controversially in the play-offs)

Will it be the Warriors in 2014?

What does this mean for the Warriors? For a more in-depth analysis and who can make or break it click here.

A special thanks to NRLSTATS and BIG LEAGUE for their support and statistical data.