Today's the day a lot of NZ Warrior fans have been dreading. Ali Lauiti'iti will let the club know of his plans for his immediate future and judging by the news we are being bombarded with by the over zealous kiwi press, it looks as though there will be no turning back for Ali.
The situation has caused a great deal of damage to the publics perception of the Warriors. Who do we believe ?
We have Ali's managers telling us the Warriors have shut the door on him, he is no longer a Warrior. On the other hand we have Warriors CEO, Mick Watson stating that Ali is welcome back at the club with a new attitude towards winning premierships.
Personally, I believe the whole deal is a misunderstanding of gigantic proportions.
1- We have new Warriors General Manager, Spiro Tsiros telling all and sundry that Ali is no longer a club member, he has an attitude problem and the club has no room for people like that !
2- The previously unmanaged Ali suddenly has not 1, but 2 managers looking after his interests. Peter Brown and ex Kiwi and Warrior coach Frank Endacott are absolutely hammering at the media door to let the good folk of the world know Ali's side of the story.
3- Warriors CEO Mick Watson tries his level best to cover the clubs backside as far as the negative publicity is concerned. He enlists the support (?) of club captain Monty Betham and star halfback Stacey Jones who both publicly state that the players don't want to play with a 'loser' and there is no room for a player with a negative attitude.
This media cantered view of Betham and Jones in itself would create a loyalty crisis of itself within the club. Who do the players support ? Ali Lauiti'iti or the club management ?
I believe Ali was misunderstood. To know Ali and to have spoken with the man it soon becomes very apparent that he is a very gentle man, he would prefer to avoid personal confrontation off the field and say/do anything to avoid an argument. Ali's people skills are, unfortunately, not in the same league as his playing ability.
FACT - Ali was misunderstood and its a poor reflection on the clubs management for not picking that up.
I wonder at the motives behind his managers reasons for lambasting Ali's side of the story to the sensation seeking media.
I wonder when the man himself is going to let us know what's going on, but then knowing Ali Lauiti'iti and realising how shy the bloke is, its understandable.
Was Ali Lauiti'iti the scapegoat for the Warriors pathetic form so far this season ?
The only bright light and seemingly lone voice of reason came from Ali's coach, friend and mentor who I along with the majority of Warriors fans have huge respect for.
In his Sunday newspaper column, Anderson said he asked Lauiti'iti whether he wanted to remain a Warrior. The answer was "yes". Anderson said Lauititi had no problem with him as coach or the way Anderson wanted the team to play, and he agreed he was playing "passively".
"I told Ali we all wanted him at the Warriors but he had to be committed and courageous on the football field," Anderson said. "I don't believe Ali was just giving the answers I wanted to hear."