Diary Of An Aotearoa Warriors Fan: Stay Up


I take it as my job to create Aotearoa Warriors optimism, which in itself is a weird old task given that I'm not relaying or passing on the optimism, I genuinely have to try and create the positive vibes. That gives me a solid foundation from which I don't get overly emotional with individual results, yet the culmination of many lacklustre performances and then the complete falling off a cliff of the Warriors vs Melbourne Storm, has me pondering the worst performance of their season so far.

To sum it all up, the Warriors did exactly what any footy or sports coach tells you not to do in conceding points before or after half-time. The Warriors, in all their glory did the sporting pleb double of conceding a try just before half-time in the 36th minute and then just after half-time in the 41st minute.

That, alone is the type of shit that has you kicking a sturdy coffee table and bruising your foot prior to your weekend's sporting activities. To hit a nek level though, the Warriors were well poised, leading 10-2 and doing a reasonable job to set the game up for what I deemed to moving into 'snatch the 2 points' mode. From there, the Warriors imploded and again showed little attacking impetus, let alone hearty, staunch grit to stay in the contest and somehow wiggle their way to a win.

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Highlighting individuals or hitting up some stats won't add to this discussion, nor am I going to be calling for coach Stephen Kearney to get the cut. With regards to the coach, having already invested heavily in an overhaul of the entire club via a range of moves that have generally been wise, shrewd footy moves, to now fall back into the shitty Warriors pattern of changing coach every 18 months would be a shitty Warriors move.

Change; we are trying to change the Warriors. The Warriors are trying to change everything about themselves and given the Warriors history, sticking with coach Kearney during tough times would be an immense change from the historical status-quo.

I'm not here to cheerlead Kearney's case though and regardless of who the coach was/is, I would be hoping for a departure from the chop/change coaching hires. What we currently have - and everyone at the club is responsible - is a footy team that is a nothing footy team.

This Warriors team has no identity. They are mediocre at everything and the saddest thing is that this Warriors team, represents absolutely nothing about the fans and kiwi rugby league. Even the cultural vibes of this team, with beautiful maori and polynesian vibes, don't actually amount to any sort of footy identity ... as opposed to Warriors teams in the past that had more Aussies and had the identity of the classic 'hard-nosed' Aussie backbone with polynesian flair sprinkled on top.

I love that this team has a far more kiwi feel. However, that hasn't actually resulted in anything and despite everything on the surface looking lovely, this is a team with very little chemistry and less application. Nothing from the image portrayed off the field, is reflected on the field and at this point in the season and this whole winds of change at Mt Smart journey, the club has do start earning credibility among the Warriors whanau strictly with what they do on the field.

A low key reason why I'm not going to go down the kick out Kaerney line is because the whole club is struggling. The Canterbury Cup team got a mini hiding from the Dragons 6-28 and Jersey Flegg drew with Victoria Thunderbolts 12-12, a team who is four spots below them on the ladder and whom the Flegg Warriors defeated 30-0 a few rounds back. The NRL Warriors are 12th, reserve grade is 10th (of 12) and Flegg is 8th (of 14th) meaning that there is a cloud of crappy footy lingering around Mt Smart.

Nathan Cayless isn't a poor coach, nor is Greg Boulous (Flegg coach). Both were highly regarded and recruited junior coaches, while assistant coach Todd Payten was one of the most recruited assistants in the NRL and guys like Peter O'Sullivan and Brian Smith are good at what they do. The club has the best staff I've ever known of and yet the club is stuck in a wee hole ... a rot.

As downbuzz as that loss to Melbourne Storm felt, I'm kinda excited. Something clearly has to change and everyone at Mt Smart has to suss out a way to improve. There is still room to implement change for 2019 and how the club goes about rectifying some rather blatant issues is going to be intriguing.

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Peace and love 27.