Warriors players must shoulder responsibility
The heat deserves to be turned up on Warriors coach Brian "Bluey" McClennan, there is little doubt about that.
You cannot concede 97 points in 160 minutes when your season is on the line and not expect the hard questions to be asked of the coach.
If the Warriors lose to bottom-of-the-table Penrith tomorrow at home it would be a surprise if a highly ambitious Warriors board and owners Eric Watson and Owen Glenn would be comfortable with the Auckland league stalwart continuing as coach.
That's easy to accept - it's what happens in this intense competition where the margin of error is small and the business is cut-throat.
What I cannot accept, however, is that the finger-pointing has remained fixed on McClennan and has not turned towards some of the lacklustre efforts of the players.
It happened at Parramatta when Stephen Kearney fell on his sword.
Kearney quite rightly copped it when the Eels were losing but the trend is for players to remain relatively untouched when heads roll.
Many Warriors players simply haven't fronted this season and I suggest it is not solely because of ability.
Maybe I'm viewing this wrong, but I believe the skill-set is there for this team to be a top-four side in the NRL.
However, there seems to be a lack of mental toughness required from the players at the moment for this team to be a force.
Are many of these Warriors players hovering in their comfort zone?
Are they too comfortable with where they are at?
Many of these players have signed long-term contracts with the club and have been with the club for some time, and I wonder if they have become a little content with their lifestyle and with their role. Many of their futures are secure with the club for the next three years.
Every one of them, however, should be feeling the heat right now.
It's a tough assessment and one the players probably are not that comfortable with, but there needs to be some pondering as to what every one of them brings to this club and whether they are worth the investment.
If these players hide behind what Bluey is doing and his looming axing, it is a cop-out.
Coaches can be the difference between winning and losing, and maybe Bluey isn't the man to take this group of players to the next level.
However, what I struggle to comprehend is that a coach can be the difference between a winning team and one that can concede close to 50 points in successive weeks.
Surely the players have a major role to play in this as well and they need to be put on watch.
It's been said before and it should be repeated: defence is about attitude and execution and many of the Warriors players have lacked both in recent weeks.
It's time for them to step outside their comfort zones and finish this season with some pride and in turn point the ship in the right direction for 2013.
If they don't, their positions within the club, like Bluey, must come into question.
The Southland Times