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Monday, July 05, 2004

Will the Warriors Beat the Sharks? 

It was good to see the Warriors knock the Eels off in the weekend of course. And the scoreline was reasonably convincing as well, with the Warriors having a solid lead for most of the match. Now after that, and the potentially huge news that the Warriors may sign Steve Price [wife has been looking at properties in Kumeu and Hunua apparently] from the Bulldogs and could possibly get Ruben Wiki and Logan Swann into the side for next season you could be forgiven for thinking that things were looking up. In fact you could almost do something dumb like expect the Warriors to have a chance of making the playoffs.

But we all know better than that, don't we?

Looking at the Warriors results this season...

After dropping their opening three games they followed up with a comfortable away win over the Sea Eagles (28-10). They then proceeded to lose to the Knights and the Bulldogs.

Things were getting desperate (one win, five loss record) by this stage so they pulled a home win out against the Storm (20-14) before once again showing not much had changed by losing to the Cowboys and getting hammered by the Sea Eagles.

And so once again they had their backs to the wall (two wins, seven losses) and managed to beat the Rabbitohs in a scrappy game 26-12.

This was followed by a absolute massacre by the Roosters 58-6 and it was goodbye Daniel Anderson. They bring in Tony Kemp and scrape out a 20-14 home win over the Raiders.

But low and behold this is followed by a 50-4 loss to the Tigers, 28-26 golden point loss to the Cowboys and a 42-6 hammering to the firing Storm.

And how do they answer these results?

By beating the Eels 20-10.

So what do ya reckon will happen away on Saturday night against the Sharks?

Well the Sharks have eight wins and eight losses this season and are coming off the back of a good away win over the Knights.

They have been inconsistent but my bet is the Sharks by 26 points (but something strange tells me that the Warriors have a decent sniff so long as the ref doesn't kill them and they get a bit of luck).

I reckon that if the Warriors win this game then they WILL beat the Rabbitohs the following week, MAY beat the Raiders away and will DEFINATELY get two points for the bye the week after.

Eight points in four weeks would put them right on the fringe of the top eight with an awful run home against the Broncos, Dragons, Eels, Roosters and Bulldogs.

What will happen though is this...
Get done by the Sharks, beat the Rabbitohs, lose to the Raiders, and win one of their last five games giving them 18 points for the season, thus finishing just off the bottom of the ladder barring the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles getting a few upset wins.

We can always dream though.

On to something else.

I was looking at the number of points that various teams were scoring this season as there have been a lot of cricket scores run up recently. To my surprise when I checked last season there were about the same number of 40 point floggings then as well. Last season the winning team knocked up 40+ points in 34 games. While this season (17 rounds completed) there have been 23 games where a side has racked up that many or more (like 66 for the Storm over the PANTHERS muhahaha last friday night).

The Warriors though have been awful in the point scoring department. The season average for all teams has been 23.59 points while the Warriors sit with the worst points per game tally of 17.13. Hell even the Sea Eagles below us on the ladder average 22.94 and have run in 65 tries compared to our 49. The Storm have scored an amazing 86 tries, which is THIRTY SEVEN more tries than the Warriors up until round 17 and they have played one less game than us!!!

The Warriors defence isn't much to write home about either. They are conceding 27.50 on average per game which puts them with the 3rd worst defence in the competition.

And all this point scoring leads me onto this...

The season needs to be shortened by about 4 games. Play 20 matches with no bye rounds (accomplished by allowing one or three of the new teams) and have the State of Origin games played in the weekends with no NRL games. Instead play rep games like New Zealand A v NSW Country, or Bartercard Cup teams, or Great Britain tours New Zealand over the same period of time, or New Zealand has our own 'origin' series between North and South (Wellington in the south), or a combined Pacific Island side plays tests. We could have SOO on Friday night, the test(s) on Saturday and other rep games as curtain raisers or stand alone games.

What needs to happen though is the World RL body needs to sit down with the Australian chiefs and realise that the standard of the NRL and the game in general can only be lifted in a big way if the players are given a shorter season and then we can open up windows for other players, rep games and the expansion of the game internationally. It's all about media exposure in the shop window. The grassroots support has always been there and the sport is growing slowly but significantly at international level.

I think change is inevitable and I'll go into more detail in the next wee while when I look at the growth of the game internationally.

For those who didn't know, New Zealand A defeated NSW Country 36-18 last Sunday at North Harbour Stadium. They were out in NZ playing a few games along with their youth team.

You can find out about the tour here.


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