Trouble overwhelming? Panic setting in? James Dann offers a few reasons to stop despairing over the Warriors’ terrible start.
After a third successive loss, and on the brink of setting a record for their most consecutive losses, many Warriors fans might be thinking this could be another season to forget. But James Dann’s original 1995 Warriors mug is half full, and he’s scoured the tea leaves to find three positives for long-suffering fans.
1. The draw
Yes, the Warriors have lost their first three games. But the draw wasn’t kind to the team, who are traditionally slow starters. Of the teams they have played, the opening game against the Tigers was probably their best hope of points, and in the first and third game, they were still in the game until just a couple of minutes before the final whistle. Playing last year’s beaten finalists the Broncos at Suncorp was never going to end well, and the Storm showed yesterday how two of the coolest heads in the game, Cam Slater and Cooper Cronk, can close out a tight game better than anyone in the competition.
The schedule over the next few weeks is far kinder on the team, with the team welcoming the Knights to Mt Smart on Easter Monday – a team who are already conceding more than 30 points a game. Following that, they make their first trip to Sydney to play the Roosters, whose season got off to a horror start when Mitchell Pearce took the dog for a walk, and has only got worse since then.
It has already been a horror season for injuries across the NRL. The Raiders lost both their halves for a couple of months in the first game. And while every team has been hit, and it’s to be expected in a physical sport, the Warriors will be looking forward to getting some of their big boys back. Manu Vatuvei has lodged at least 10 tries in each of the last 10 seasons, and his return will allow Solomone Kata to return to his most effective position in the centres. The return of Thomas Leuluai in the next couple of weeks should put pressure on the halves pairing of Shaun Johnson and Jeff Robson. If they can’t string together something a bit more effective in the next two weeks, you’d expect Leuluai to take Robson’s spot at Number 7. We’ve also got the prospect of Konrad Hurrell, who will surely return from his purgatory in the NSW Cup at some point.
3. This always happens
The Warriors have always been slow starters. I’m not saying that’s not a problem – they’re professional sportspeople, and you’d think they would come into the season better prepared. But if you look at their record, over the previous 5 seasons, they’ve only won 6 out of their 19 games played in March. And the last time they went 0 and 3 was back in 2011 – when they went on to the Grand Final.