After the New Zealand Warriors impressive 30-22 win over the defending premiers the Melbourne Storm, I think it is time to ask if the Warriors are a true threat to take out the Grand Final this year.
After an abysmal start to the season which saw the club take a record breaking beating from the Penrith Panthers, the Warriors have found a bit of form. Granted that the State Of Origin period was very kind to them, the Warriors have finally started to find their stride and are looking to now secure a place in the finals series.
The Warriors forwards are playing a lot better than they were just a couple of months ago. There was a point of the season where they forgot to just tuck the ball under their arm and go forward.
I still think the the Warriors don’t get enough out of dummy half. For a team with such a big, mobile forward pack, the Warriors should be looking to work off the back of that with a similar dummy half rotation that Penrith use.
The last thing opposition teams want to have to deal with late in the game is a Warriors team concentrating all of their attack out of dummy half. Friend does OK but I think they could get more out of that area of their game.
One of the things the Warriors need if they are to challenge for the title is for Feleti Mateo to continue to run through the line and then look to offload. In the past Mateo was thinking offload first before he had even hit the line. It lead to poor ball security and made him a liability at times.
Now Mateo is running hard to the line. He has become damaging ball runner. Throw in his ability to offload and he is a huge key to the Warriors success.
I am a huge fan of Shaun Johnson. He adds a real x-factor to this Warriors side. He needs to be careful that he doesn’t play across field too much and occasionally just straightens his attack up.
In the finals the Warriors will need to be getting repeat sets of six out of their kicking game. This is where Johnson will be tested. He has all the skills though and when he has a big game, he can tear an opposition team apart.
The Warriors back line can be a bit raw at times, but they can also be spectacular.
Konrad Hurrell has been in devastating form in recent weeks and the likes of Locke, Fisiiahi and Vatuvei are true game breakers.
The Warriors form is great and they are starting to rack up some very good wins against very good teams. I am starting to think the Warriors could go on and win it all this year.
Then I remember Matthew Elliott is their coach….
They have no chance whatsoever….