The recent Anzac Day loss by the New Zealand Warriors to the Melbourne Storm has some in Kiwi Land questioning the prospects of the team that has been something of a surprise thus far in the Telstra 2018 NRL Premiership competition.
The loss to the Storm at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (AAMI) is evidence to the Warrior doubters that the New Zealand NRL franchise is far from the point of being title contenders in 2018.
The game had the lopsided score of 50 – 10 in favour of the Storm, which proved very demoralising to the players and their supporters.
We take a more optimistic view, however, as we are pleased to see the Warriors showing a strong pulse and while they may not win the 2018 premiership, they can play finals and the next game of their fixture with the Wests Tigers is the perfect opportunity to erase the perception of the Warriors as pretenders.
It seems abrupt and drastic to write the Warriors off after the tough loss in Melbourne. This is the same team that ruined the St. George Illawarra Dragons’ perfect start to the 2018 NRL season, after all.
Supporters of the Warriors may have felt better if the outcome of the game with the Storm had at least been competitive, but hiccups such as this are not the true measure. The true measure is how well the club can rebound.
Giving up 50 points is seen as an ominous sign for the Warriors and the game seemed like a replay of some from last season, where the Warriors failed to play the sort of defense they exhibited against the Dragons.
It seems the Warriors sorely missed Tohu Harris, a 117-game veteran for the Storm and losing Issac Luke early in the Storm game was the unexpected blow that may have doomed the Warriors, but a win over the Wests Tigers might get the Warriors back on an even keel and clam the anxieties of those whose recall of seasons past is too keen.