The following is potentially a large part of why the NZ Warriors stink at the moment. And you know a team must really stink when even some diehards (not the unconditional ones, I know) start becoming really disgruntled…
The most compelling reason for the NZ Warriors being as abject as they have been for so long could likely lie in something a lot less complex than any perceived deficiency in ‘culture’ (however many strands that actually entails), in attitude or in being at Mt Smart itself (umm, no). Quite possibly none of the above. It could in fact be as simple as the way they train and do their drills and match simulations on the Practice ground. *Just to note that the following revelations could well be old news to any in the know. If so however, why hasn’t much more of an issue already been made about it?
To go back about six weeks. Word filtered northwards that a certain Rugby midfield back from Palmerston North who used to be on the books of the Warriors, was stunned to learn at training sessions for the Hurricanes that the players engaged in full-contact, match simulated tackling practice. His apparent shock could of course mean only one thing- that the Warriors did not employ this method in their onfield training. And if not, what kind of contact training have they been doing down at Penrose HQ?
Naturally, the first point about no full-on contact drills/game simulation needed substantiating. So I turned to one of my closest contacts and quite frankly, the only one who would know for almost certain- a guy who only recently finished his close to 20-year involvement at the elite level Rugby League, albeit not as a player. He was unequivocal that the first-team players in the Warriors are only required to practice their tackling via the use of tackle bags, crash pads and possibly other cushioned apparatus. There is nothing at all related to man-on-man or man with ball contact. To learn this was staggering (to me, anyway).
But that alone was not enough to make a case. The next step was to ascertain whether the other NRL first grade sides did the same or different. I trusted my same contact to provide the answer and (you know it), it seems almost all the other NRL teams DO NOT ONLY use bags and pads in their tackle training (as the Warriors appear to do)- on the contrary, the other teams properly engage in man-on-man contact in their drills as well.
If what I have just told you is even eighty percent true, is it any wonder that the Warriors consistently demonstrate an almost marshmallow-type underbelly. And is the all of the above the damning and all-encompassing reason why they seem to fall off tackles far more easily than almost every other team? To frame it another way- Is this non-contact training a chief culprit in why the Warriors may attain a wholly unwanted club record of nine straight defeats this Sunday?
Nobody seems to have the answers, but the true-blue fans sure as heck need to and deserve to know the truth behind this awful season. Especially in light of what genuinely was expected in 2017.
And that is probably what hurts more than anything else.
Yours, please… (espc. loyal Warriors fans)
Alternatively, mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul)