Anyone else who feels like asking Warriors coach Matt Elliott why he's only made minimal team changes for Sunday's game against the Knights does so at their own peril.
It may seem an obvious question as to why just Carlos Tuimavave and Glen Fisiiahi have been dropped from the Warriors starting side that was embarrassed 62-6 by the Panthers last weekend, but Elliott, who is prone to fly off the handle from time to time, gave a young radio journalist at the team's media session yesterday an earful for daring to ask.
''People who ask that question have got no idea of who's available,'' seethed Elliott. ''I am sick of hearing it, it's a dumb question. Who are you going to bring in? You don't know because you haven't put any research into it.''
Well, centre Dominque Peyroux and halfback Harry Seijka are two players who could have been mentioned. They are the only players Elliott has signed to the club and neither has played a game yet.
Also playing for the Vulcans this weekend are Jerome Ropati, Konrad Hurrell and Sebastine Ikahihifo, who all could have been seen as options for a game the Warriors dare not lose by a big margin.
There is young talent in the Vulcans and Under 20s side, but Elliott is reluctant to bring them up to the main team.
''If we make wholesale changes and suffer again, I'm sitting here with you (media) guys and these things (dictaphones) stuffed in my face and you're asking me the same questions again.
''I know you know your business and I know my business. I'm not being indignant about it, but I am getting a bit tired of it to be honest.''
Elliott was sidestepping questions about Shaun Johnson yesterday too. The halfback was embarrassingly yanked from the field against the Panthers.
''If we want to make things personal we miss the point,'' he said. ''I know that at certain times it can feel bad to individuals, but as coaches we make decisions based on what we feel is best for the team at that time.
''No one likes coming off the park. I replace Russell Packer and he whinges and complains the whole time and wants to get back on the field, which is a good thing.''
Elliott also wouldn't comment about whether he'd seen the response he wanted to see on the training paddock after going through one of the worst weeks in the club's history.
''I am reluctant to answer that, I'd rather answer that after the game,'' he said. ''Our preparation standards have raised significantly in the period I've been here.
''We did have a flat week last week after six weeks of pushing pretty hard, leading six games in the last 10 minutes and winning two is pretty irky stuff to deal with.
''When a team responds like that, it's about preparation, so I didn't get it right.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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