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 15th edition of Robert’s ‘Warrior-Roo’ blog (find previous entries HERE):
I have to be honest: I started to write my blog last week but I realised there was actually nothing positive to write about. Still no coach, still no decent recruitment news, and worsT of all a steaming dump or a performance against the mid-table Sharks. I loathe losing to Cronulla at the best of times but to see our old mate literally running rings around us and uncharacteristically showboating was just seriously depressing.
Leading up to the Roosters game I was fearing the worst. Traditionally when we’re down, we’re down and one hiding leads to another. I genuinely pondered whether I would save myself the heartache of surely another 80 minutes of pure misery. Then there was that other tiny version of myself on the other shoulder telling me that I would never forgive myself if we produced an absolute miracle. So, I fired up the Kayo once again. #Allin, right?!
What unfolded over the 80 minutes was not exactly a fairytale, but instead a much-improved performance. A good start and a halftime lead had me daring to dream for a moment…until commonsense prevailed and I refused to get my hopes up. And with good reason, too, as the Roosters’ class proved too much in the second half, scoring 12 unanswered points despite our brave effort.
It was refreshing to actually come away from a loss not completely demoralised and we may have actually won a bit of respect with that effort. At the end of the day, though, a loss is a loss and if we had a bit more composure and firepower in attack then we may have gotten away with that one. I suppose the best that we can hope for is that effort is now the standard, as Payten stated in his post-match press conference. To be perfectly honest that’s all we can ask for over the next nine weeks.
Being based in Brisbane, I’ve been lucky that the Broncos have been stinking even worse than us of late and we’ve been able to fly under the media radar while the locals cop a public horse-whipping (pardon the pun). It’s also spared me from the ‘What happened to your Warriors?’ jibes that I seem to usually cop most Monday mornings. I’m also lucky being outside NZ in that I’m not subjected to the media constantly scrutinising the team after losing patience after years of underachievement.
Our search for a new coach at this point seems to be as fruitful as our recruitment with potential candidates dropping out like flies. Geoff ‘There Has To Be An Investigation’ Toovey and the out-of-the-box Walker Brothers bit the dust in the past couple of days. Personally, I was hoping for the club to take a punt on the unconventional Walkers. We tried to transform a mediocre roster into the Melbourne Storm under Kearney and it’s failed miserably. In fact, pretty much everything we’ve tried since 2011 has been unsuccessful so why not try something completely different? We really don’t have anything to lose – this is rock-bottom stuff. If I was a betting man, I’d be putting it all on Todd Payten to be retained on a short-term deal. Watch this space…
Recruitment-wise we seem to be in the conversation for every player that comes on the market only to come up with sweet bugger all. We need to accept that we’re about as an attractive destination as North Korea right now. Australians don’t want to move to Auckland, and even the drawcard of attracting Kiwi-expats to come home is waning. The fact that we seem to be a basket-case of a club on and off the field only compounds matters. We may be cashed up, but what’s the point when even money doesn’t talk?! In my opinion we need to be blooding some local juniors, and then look at some realistic recruits such as young players, fringe first-graders, or journeymen looking for an opportunity. It doesn’t sound great, but beggars can’t be choosers and we might just uncover a few diamonds in the rough, James Maloney-style.
The next nine rounds are going to be strange in the sense that we’ll have a lot of new faces in the team in the form of loan players. The nature of the agreement is that these guys get game-time, so like it or not they’ll be in the team each week. Having said that we’ve done very well with our two temporary acquisitions to date, especially Jack Hetherington, who we should be throwing the kitchen sink at just quietly! Hopefully Parramatta pair Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings can have a similar impact.
The other strange aspect is that barring an absolute form reversal we’re out of the picture for the finals, so we’re essentially a team playing for pride – and for many guys, their first-grade futures. It’s been strongly suggested there will be a complete cleanout at the end of the season, so you would imagine that the majority of the off-contract brigade would not be retained by the club.
So I guess what I’m trying to say in all of this is that we’re essentially holding up a fixture for the NRL and providing an audition for off-contract players. Not ideal circumstances (pretty much sums up 2020 thus far), but the improved showing against top-shelf opposition last week has given a glimmer of hope. If Payten can get the current squad to play at level for the remainder of the season then he might just be the man for 2021 and beyond!