Friday, July 19

Why Warriors heartbreak is tempered by hope

Well, that was just… that was fucking heartbreaking. Eight points up with three minutes to play and then…. Papynhauzen and Coates. I turned the TV off, unable to watch the conversion, my head in hands for five minutes. I went to bed with a very heavy heart. And then I awoke to a stunning Wellington morning. And I felt okay. The feeling of the loss still resonated, but it didn’t have the same sting. In fact, I was looking forward to next week. I can’t say I have felt that way in previous seasons after a loss, even a close one.

So what’s changed?

It’s because there was just so much to like about that second-half performance, and even a few patches in the first. Reduce the errors and the Warriors will go a long way this season. RTS was fantastic. Rocco Berry was sublime. Bunty was improved. DWZ was electric and committed.

But there were some average moments. I wouldn’t have blamed Webster if he’d hooked Lussick for some very poor discipline in the first stanza. 

Montoya was… well, I mean, he could have been better. 

Taine will also be improved from the experience. 

But comparative to their counterparts they were sub-par. Montoya had an awful first half. He was beaten in the air and held up over the try line by a man half his size. Taine did nothing wrong, and you could argue it’s almost unfair to compare him to Papenhuyzen. But this is the NRL. Papenhuyzen was sensational. Two tries and an offload that led to another. Taine can only dream of becoming that good. Defensively he’s sound although relatively untested under the high ball. But his attacking prowess isn’t anywhere near the elite league of Paps. But Taine is improving. Keep on swimming, keep on swimming….

It was just a great game.

Even Jackson Ford got rid of his dropsies, and what a difference it made. The bunker got their decision wrong on the penalty against Ford for decoy running into Jerome Hughes – who clearly shifted his line to tackle. Which is somewhat unforgivable when you take into account they get to rewatch it over and over again. It makes you wonder what the punishment and accountability should be for bunker decisions being incorrect. I personally think a naked run across the field, prior to kick off, in front of the home crowd of the team they screwed over. No TV cameras – just humiliation in front of tens of thousands of onlookers giving them stick. Let’s see how many incorrect decisions occur if that’s the consequences.

And yet, think of what is to come for the Warriors. Considering they had three key players out in Egan, CNK and Nuikore, the potential is mouthwatering. Once those three players are back, and assuming no other big names drop out from injury or suspension, then jeepers… A month of building combinations on attack and defence and this team will be devastating. 

I can’t wait to see it.

This week brings us Ricky’s Raiders. So far Ricky hasn’t had too much to moan about. Here’s hoping the Warriors can contribute to a few post-match presser highlights from him.