There should have been no way that Aotearoa Warriors could have lost Sunday's game to Penrith Panthers and yet, kinda desperately seeking a win, the Warriors gave the game up to Penrith. James Maloney slotted his second attempt at a field goal after 80 minutes to seal the 18-19 win and that sums things up at the moment as the Warriors weren't just graced with their own chance to slot a droppie after Maloney's first miss, they gave Maloney a second chance.
If Maloney gets a second chance, he gets the win. Even prior to that though, the Warriors should have stretched their lead with two Panthers in the sin-bin just after half-time and any winning instinct would have resulted in the Warriors kicking on from their 12-6 lead at half-time. Instead, the Warriors looked sluggish and while their scramble defence did well to stop the Panthers scoring for much of the second half, it was the lack of impetus with the footy that kept the game up for grabs.
Killer instinct, none of it. Sluggish feels like the right word to describe the work with the footy and this has been a worrying trend in recent months as the Warriors can't jack up points. Take the set that led to Blake Green's droppie being charged down as an example because the Warriors couldn't generate any tempo, any play-the-ball speed and while that was the case all game, perhaps the case in many previous games, such sluggish-ness directly led to Green getting slow footy, less time and space, charged down.
This is one of those debrief yarns that can't discuss one player though. This is a club that is struggling and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but whatever's going on is manifesting via the NRL team. Think of all the bad vibes you feel watching the Warriors collapse and it will come as no surprise that Nathaniel Roache suffered a hefty knee injury; bad vibes lead to bad things happening.
The whole Roache situation stinks to the point where the more you think about it, the stinker it gets. Hopefully Roache can find the strength to keep on his journey, put faith in his purpose and also invest time and resource into ensuring there are endless opportunities available to him outside of footy. Often, your greatest asset as a pro athlete is availability and Roache offers none of that.
Roache's predicament, reflects or is a product of this stinky Warriors vibe.
It's not fun watching the Warriors.
It's not a couple hours in footy heaven, distracting the middle class battler from their 9-5 grind.
It's not inspiring.
Watching the Warriors and being embedded in what the club's up to, it's just sad.
No entertainment. No super freaky efforts. No gritty edge that fans can buy into. I mean, Alex Corvo's whole fitness schtick has resulted in a sluggish footy team? Some things like Corvo's lack of current impact, don't make a whole lot of sense and then some things make a whole lot of sense because when boiled down, it's simply a case of the Warriors being the Warriors.
I know that feeling well, just differently to youz. At this point of the season, I slide away from putting so much effort into covering the Warriors. I've only got so much time and bandwidth, so when it becomes apparent on a annual basis that the Warriors aren't deserving of that bandwidth, I pour more resource into #KiwiNRL coverage or other sports.
This Warriors team can still make the top-eight and if there are drastic changes in how they operate, or even just the vibe they offer, there will be reason to pump the Warriors stuff out. The easy thing to do is to be super critical, find nasty words to write and hammer home the harsh reality. The better thing to due is tune out, which I can't do but I definitely don't want to be thinking about the Warriors as much as I have been.
If you are a rugby league nerd, keep smiling. Rugby league in Aotearoa is in a great spot and the best thing now, is to be open to what #KiwiNRL players and stories catch your eye as the season hits its climax. I'll be here delivering the best #KiwiNRL insight I can, about those who deserve the attention.
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Peace and love 27.