• New Zealand Warriors Hope to Avoid Dubious History in Round 26

    The New Zealand Warriors will not make any changes to the list for the Telstra 2017 NRL Premiership competition final, standing pat with the lineup that has taken them nowhere when they play the even more dismal Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval in the Sydney suburb of Lilyfield.

    The Warriors could have been called the Pacifists this season and would in all probability been none the worse for it, as they have equaled their record for most consecutive losses of eight with their Round 25 loss to the low-flying Manly Sea Eagles at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.

    At least it was an entertaining game with a close outcome, even if it was not the sort of scoring affair of which some Kiwi sides are capable.

    A loss in the final game would give the players, fans and Warrior officials an unwanted snack upon which to gnaw during the offseason. There might not be enough crow to go around.

    Ivan Cleary brings the Wests Tigers back to play against the side he once coached, so there may be a revenge factor involved. Cleary had some positive impact on the Tigers since taking over mid-season from Jason Taylor and they have played their best football of the season since Cleary took the helm, they have been on an upswing, but not enough of one to move the Tigers above the Warriors on the ladder.

    There is an exodus of sorts for players after the game, with the most notable being Kieran Foran.

    Foran did not rise to the role of saviour for the Kiwis and the loss to the Sea Eagles, for which he played 147 games might have felt bad, momentarily at least. Then again, for all his talent and desirability, Foran did little or nothing for the Parramatta Eels in 2016. His resort to joining the Canterbury Bulldogs next season seems another desperate attempt to escape a bad situation for any sort of improvement.