Quite often after a team finishes a disastrous season, a club’s administration will gut the joint and bring in some fresh blood. The test of their mettle is the enthusiasm they then show to fight back right from the start of the new season, trying to right the wrongs from their previous efforts.
In some cases a team will burst out from the first minute of their new sortie and put the demons of seasons past to rest. In most cases though, the fans are relatively satisfied if their team simply shows some ticker and a new found spirit.
Unfortunately though, up against the Eels on Saturday night the Warriors of 2013 looked remarkably similar to the Warriors of 2012.
Some of the stats were terrifying (36 missed tackles for example). But it’s the continuation of last season’s defensive frailties and lack of penetration on attack that is of most concern.
To compound the déjà vu effect, there was the sight of an injured Manu Vatuvei leaving the field early in the game, players being picked out of position to cover pivotal spots (Elijah Taylor being the prime example) and Shaun Johnson reeling out of innocuous looking tackles clutching some part of his anatomy as if it was a season ending injury.
The manner in which the Warriors were exposed through the centre of the ruck as the game wore on was disturbing, particularly when you consider that this team that was supposed to be incredibly fit. But their attack looked as shapeless as ever, and they continue to lack genuine leadership in the backline.
In what can only be described as a woeful effort against last year’s wooden spooners, there were very few lights to be seen at the end of some exceptionally long tunnels. Pita Godinet immediately provided some much needed impetus out of dummy half when he came on, whilst Dane Nielsen looked accomplished in his role in the centres, running some clever lines and defending well.
And that’s about it. Some others looked ok in dispatches, but dispatches were all they could muster.
The only positive that can really be drawn is that the club is expecting some players to return from injury reasonably soon. Bu t unfortunately for them so is every other club, so it will take a major attitudinal shift for this team to go even close to the Top Eight this season.
It goes without saying that after one game, it is far too early to completely write the Warriors off in 2013. But in 80 minutes of awful football, they have managed to blow the (admittedly subdued) PR noises coming out of the club well and truly out of the water.
Outside of a few misguided cheerleaders, Warriors fans would have been cautiously optimistic of a solid season in 2013. But in repeating a performance straight out of their 2012 storybook, you can’t escape the feeling that the Warriors loyal fan base are in for another very long year.