Robert Anderson is a Brisbane-based Warriors fan and long-time member of the club. Throughout 2020, he will share his memories and thoughts on his beloved team for This Warriors Life. Here’s the fourth edition of Robert’s ‘Warrior-Roo’ blog (find previous entries HERE):
Former Channel 9 and now Fox Sports commentator Andrew Voss said it best in the Warriors 25th season documentary that the Warriors are incorrectly uncredited as being the longest rollercoaster in the world. But in my opinion, ‘Vossy’ nailed it even better when he said “a Warriors game doesn’t even start until the final 10 minutes”. There’s never been a more accurate assessment of the team!
After 25 years of watching the Warriors through the exhilarating highs and the crushing lows, one thing is for certain – the game is never over. Do you ever sit there watching the game with an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? Does a fast start to a game make you just as nervous as defending the line with a two-point lead anda minute on the clock? Don’t worry, that’s normal – and part and parcel of supporting the Warriors.
There have just been too many times when a large Warriors lead has been made a mockery of. No better example of that came in Round 9 of 2017, away against a horribly out-of-form Penrith Panthers. The Warriors got out to a 28-6 halftime lead and there was plenty of finger-waving going on. I went in to see my wife, who was reading in the bedroom (she knows better than to watch the games with me now…) and remarked that, ‘we can’t lose this one!’. She just gave me that look that said, ‘are you sure?’.
Nek minnit, the Panthers had regained the lead with 20 to go before Tyrone Peachey and former Warriors ball boy Nathan Cleary put us out of our misery with five minutes to play.
Remarkably, it wasn’t the biggest collapse in NRL history; that record belongs to the Panthers, who bottled a 26-0 lead against the Cowboys in 1998, although the Warriors equalled that 26-point collapse at Penrith in a 32-all draw in 2009.
I’ll never forget that feeling, it was just awful.
But you take the good with the bad, that’s just the nature of the team. For every big collapse I can remember just as many spirited comebacks, erasing sizeable deficits with ease. Ironically, one of the more memorable efforts was again in Penrith in 2001, when we came back from 14 points down early in the second half.
I would mention the three tries in the final six minutes against the Bulldogs in Wellington the same year, but the vision of Stacey’s missed conversion after fulltime from next to the sticks – consigning the match to a 24-all draw – still haunts me! As I said, you take the good with the bad.
The truth is that my game-day experience watching the Warriors plays out much like that episode of The Simpsons when Homer is called into Mr Burns’ office:
Homer: (heart pounding)
Mr Burns: Relax Simpson, I just brought you in for a friendly hello….
Homer: (heart relaxes)
Mr Burns: …and goodbye! You’re fired!
Homer: (heart pounding)
An eight-point-plus lead is usually considered a barrier of comfort in an NRL game. But when you’re watching the Warriors you know it’s just seconds away from being a two-point lead again.
Take the Round 14 away game against the Titans in 2019. Clawing back the lead in 68th minute, Ken Maumalo scores in the corner and Isaac Luke converts to lead 24-14 with five minutes left (heart rate relaxes). Most would suggest game over…hold my beer. The Titans regain possession from a short kick-off and score a converted try with four mins left (heart rate goes up).
Warriors give away a penalty in the ensuing set and Titans are on the attack again (heart pounding). Warriors regain possession after defending for their lives (heart rate relaxes). Warriors give away a penalty whilst in possession with 90 seconds remaining, then Adam Blair gets sin-binned for a late tackle with 52 seconds remaining to leave us defending our line with 12 men (heart pounding).
AJ Brimson puts in a rush-of-blood kick in which is cleaned up by Captain Marvellous – and we survive! (Heart rate back to normal). So there you have it, an emotional rollercoaster in five minutes of one game alone, against the NRL’s worst team when we seemingly had it comfortably wrapped up. Why do we make such hard work of a win? Because we’re the Warriors!
You just can’t afford to relax for one minute, not unless we’re up by more than two converted tries with two mins on the clock and losing is a physical impossibility.
Having said all that, nothing beats the feeling of winning and being a Warriors supporter you certainly learn to appreciate wins…even if we do it the hard way!
Can anyone relate?!