New Zealand Warriors fans are just starting to feel it now…
After three straight losses to start the season, Warriors fans are already asking how things could go so wrong so quickly.
This time last year the Warriors were starting a new season with a new coach. They had played in an NRL Grand Final just six months earlier. This was a young team that had big game experience. They were going places.
As we all know, under Brian McClennan the Warriors set records for futility. By the end of the 2012 NRL season the Warriors were abysmal. McClennan set a record of his own too, becoming the first head coach to have been sacked before his first season in charge of a club had even ended.
It was a good move, one the club had to make. This is a club in a rare position. They have a lot of very good talent at the club and a lot of very good young players knocking on the door of the first grade team as well. Management had to get the next coaching appointment right.
They signed Matthew Elliott.
We are only three game into the Matthew Elliott era, and alread Warruors fans are asking a number of questions.
The team looks under prepared. They look like they have been caught off guard. Why? They had six months to prepare for the season kick off. Why do they look so bad?
Then there is the teams fitness…
Why do the New Zealand Warriors look like they are on the back foot when it comes to their fitness? Why do they look like they need a good off season? This is a professional Rugby League team with a professional training staff that the head coach went out and recruited himself. Why do they look like they need to catch up with everyone else?
What is the game plan? Where is the direction?
Even at their worst, the New Zealand Warriors have always been a team that could do amazing things in attack. How can a team with talent like Locke, Johnson and Mateo…players that would walk into any team and be outstanding attacking players…how can they find it so hard to score point?
The Warriors have a great forward pack. Size, mobility…if there is one thing the Warriors have always been able to do since day one it is blow and opposition forward poack away early on. Yet the Warriors are struggling in the first half in every game they have played so far this season. Why?
How did the Warriors get to a point where they have gone from Grand Finalists in 2011 to what we see today, a team that looks completely broken? Shouldn’t the new coach and all of his new coaching staff have been able to step in, take all of this talent and at least trouble a few sides for a few minutes in games they have played?
Warriors fans might be asking questions, but Canberra Raiders and Penrith Panthers fans have seen this all before. This is what you get when Matthew Elliott is coaching your football team.
Of course Elliott has come out and have thrown the media a few nice quotes. He has talked about bringing in “Mental Trainers” and talking about having to look at how he prepares the team. The media will love him for the content that he provies them and talk about what a nice bloke he is rather that the direction he is taking the club in. This is what you get with him though…
When Matthew Elliott was appointed as head coach of the New Zealand Warriors, it made me really sad. I like the Warriors, I like to see them do well. I went through a list of things Warriors fans could expect to see happen, and understandably they were sceptical of what they saw as the opinions of a bitter Panthers fan.
One by one, everything I have said would happen at the Warriors under Matthew Elliotts reign has happened.
It is only going to get worse before it gets better….under a new coach.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com