Sunday, July 25, 2004
The Warriors can ill afford to be falling out with the few media organisations that actually give them and league in general any coverage so they'd better sort it out fast. I imagine that the NZ Herald would be quite happy to not worry about covering league but they sure as hell need Radio Sport onside.
In the case of Radio Sport, the heart of the discord is a number of incidents with the club over the last 12 months following what the Warriors deem to be unfavourable on-air comments by hosts.
On Wednesday the station's long-time league commentator, Alan McLaughlin, was phoned by a club official and told he would not be welcome at training. The call followed on-air comments made on Monday afternoon by host Willie Lose while in conversation with a talkback caller.
The former Tongan international union player said Pacific Island rugby was better off without the involvement of the Warriors parent company, Cullen Sport. It was a reference to a failed attempt by Cullen earlier this year to put together a Super 12 and test side of island players.
Personally I can't see what is wrong with Lose's comments. I mean maybe the Pacific Islands venture would be better off and maybe they wouldn't but it's a simple matter of opinion and Lose and other hosts shouldn't be gagged simply because there is a commercial arrangement between the Warriors and Radio Sport. I'm sure dozens of sports have commercial arrangements with them so does that mean that none of the hosts can say anything negative about any of those sports. And besides Willie Lose is a nice intelligent guy so chill out Watson!
Moving on to the AB's test. For a very long time there I thought I had seen a complete reversal and was watching the same team that played Australia in last years WC semi. They looked quite clueless in up against in your face defence and it was a stern talking to at halftime that whipped them into shape. Unfortunately again hands let them down at crucial moment. Meeuws knocked on three times in attacking positions int he second half by my count. Also Marshall had a very mediocre game and Spencer was diabolocal in the first half and merely ok in the second.
The forwards really guts it out though and eventually a pretty average Springbok team couldn't hold out any longer. The AB's are definately benefiting from the very weak standard of international rugby at the moment though. They hit an English team that has passed it's best, an Australian team that has nothing up front at all, and a youngish Springbok team who really lack serious leadership in the pack and in fact have stuff all to offer except 100% committment and a bit of pace when they can actually get their hands on the ball. If possession had been 50/50 we would have been staring at a defeat a fair way out from the finish. But denying the opposition the ball takes skill and at least that's one part of our game that we can't have any complaints about this year.
Oh well, rack up the easy wins when we can.
And the Warriors are up 22-18 after 54 minutes in their round 19 clash with the Raiders. Could this be a true sign that the club has actually started to make forward steps? I have a nagging feeling we will fold late in the game and the Raiders will sneak home at home but even Raiders fans are complaining about their team not having enough talent across the field and Mark McLindon has to do too much work for them. Though I notice that Clinton Schifcofske leads several statistical categories this season for metres gained in the competition and that Matthew Gafa has scored 14 points today, not to mention they have a bloke called Ruben Wiki as well so they can't be that hard up.
Warriors - Raiders games have a habit of being close. Last time they met the margin was 6 points in favour of the Warriors while before that the margins were 1 point (W), 8 points (W), 8 points (R), 16 points (W), 8 points (R), 12 points (W)... All time it's nine wins to the Raiders and eight wins to the Warriors before todays game.
The top 8 looks like it's almost sorted itself out. Roosters (32), Bulldogs (32), Broncos (30), Panthers (26), Storm (24) all certainties, with the Dragons (20), Raiders (20), Sharks (20), Cowboys (19), Knights (18) and Tigers (18) left fighting for the other 3 spots. I reckon you can write the Cowboys and Tigers off and pencil in the Dragons and Raiders. So that leaves it down to the Sharks and the Knights to duel for the last spot. I hate the Knights so I'll be backing the Sharks to keep the lads from Newcastle out of the playoffs for the first time since 1996 when they finished one spot out of the playoffs (9th) in the days of the 20 team comp.
[and so we lost by a point in extra time. Stupid rule. The Raiders (22) got payback for when we beat them by one point in the playoffs the other year. Also the Cowboys (21) beat the Knights (18) in Newcastle also in a Golden point game to throw the cat amongst the pigeons a bit. Dragons (22) took care of the Sharks (20) this avo' so things are getting real interesting. If the Warriors had won they would have been sitting on 18 points after next weeks bye but that loss has extinguished any slim playoff hopes completely.
All this is going to force me into going over the remaining fixtures to get a better handle on who we will see running around come September.]