Warriors headed for uneasy season

JUSTIN LATIF
Last updated 09:34 13/10/2012

The New Zealand Warriors have gone for the most underwhelming choice of coach in the NRL.

Like me, many Warriors fans will be feeling fairly empty right now, knowing our team is about to be led by the man who got sacked for Ivan Cleary.

Wayne Scurrah, Owen Glenn and Eric Watson obviously see something in Elliott that rugby league legend Phil Gould did not.

But over the next two seasons Elliott will have the chance to prove me wrong - unless he gets sacked, that is.

His first challenge will be winning over a dressing room which seems to have thrown its support behind the incumbent Tony Iro.

His next conundrum will be how to create a fitter, more disciplined side and, if he is to be truly successful, make sure that translates into consistent performances.

Winning over the media and fans will come if the results fall into place. But Warriors HQ shouldn't expect large pre-season membership sales or feel-good puff pieces in the weekend newspapers about what a great guy Elliott is, as we saw with Bluey McClennan.

The Warriors will start next season as rank outsiders, with a new game plan, probably new assistant coaches and an uneasy fan-base.

If management continue with the failed experiment of opening the season at Eden Park, expect the record losing streak to be extended.

The worst case scenario Elliott could face is reaching round six with only one or two wins, as they did with McClennan. However the supporters will be much less forgiving and the media will probably start calling for his head.

If Elliott found his last year at the Penrith Panthers tough, he will find rabid Kiwi league fans and the New Zealand sporting media even more excruciating.

I wish him all the best, but I suspect we are about to witness a train wreck similar to some of the dismal Warriors seasons of the late 1990s.

 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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