Gutted - A fan's perspective

A post from a fan who wears his heart on his sleave, loves the Warriors with a passion, as we all do.

Today for mine is the worst day in the New Zealand Warriors history. It wasn't the day we lost to Parramatta in our first finals appearance, that was a celebration of overcoming adversity to get there. It wasn't losing the Grand Final, that was a celebration of great skill and determination and hard work paying off.

Today is the day a Warriors leader leaves. Today is the day the Warriors give Ali Lauitiiti his boarding pass to success elsewhere in the rugby league world. Today is the day that Warriors mismanagement brews and the day that the Warriors family died.

Given the pain shared by many a fan, this can only be magnified in the hearts of the players. This narrow minded, pathetic decision has sent a dagger through the clubs heart - through the clubs aspirations. The player involved, Ali Lauitiiti is remorseful. He has been quoted as saying he only wanted to play for the Warriors and he did desperately want to win a premiership. He told how his own father told him to pull his finger out of his ar$e and get back doing the hard yards at the Warriors. Still, Warriors management failed to see this and sent the 24 year old giant on his way in a brief meeting.

I can only look on in envy at the Dragons management. For years they have failed to succeed both on and off the field. But now, I envy them. I look at the incident with Mark Gasnier - he feels stale, he wants out. They give him the week off, and then ask him what he needs in his life. He says diversity, diversity he got. The management helped him get a 1 day a week job outside of rugby league. Now Gasnier, and the Dragons are playing irresistable football, and unlike the Warriors shortening in premiership reckoning.

I even look at envy at New Zealand Cricket. We remember the post Hadlee years, the guilt, the torment, the in house brewing, the political fracas and poor results. In recent years, they have employed a sports pyschologist. How many times in those years have we been hearing the old stories of in house battles, of players not interested in playing for their country. Not many. Have their results changed? Absolutely.

For such a big organisation like the Warriors, to not employ even on a consultancy basis a pyschogolist is laughable. Given the current crisis facing the club, the lack of pyschological support for the players, and understanding to be relayed to management is short sighted.

This is a hard tonic to swallow - like the Sharks of last year who dismissed Nick Graham and Dean Triester, I doubt we can recover. I am sure there is a lot of pain and disbelief within the camp - regardless of the brave faces, this has to be a slap in the face. Not only a slap in the face to someone who debuted for the club way back in 1998, not only a slap in the fact for someone who was loyal to the club when the club folded and they could not even guarantee on time player payments, not only a slap in the face to a man only about 15 appearances ago was rated the world's best back rower, but a slap in the face to Ali's many friends and their own standing within the Warriors organisation.

Love or loathe it, management have created an us versus them situation. Love or loathe it, a player of undeniable class is no longer with us. Love it or loathe it, we've virtually wiped $300,000 off our strike power for this year.

I will always be loyal to the Warriors - the team, the on field performance. I'm not so sure about my loyalty to management or their decision making. I'm not too keen about the processes involved and the lack of player support offered. I'm disenchanted by the general fitness of the players, one which the strength/speed/fitness co-ordinator manager will probably not be held responsible for. I'm disappointed in the general tactics being applied - one which neither the coach, the club analyser or the assistant coach will be held responsible for. I'm angered by the Warriors website, lack of interactivity, up to date stories, and publishment of stories by the likes of Dean Lonergan bagging the Warriors. Given that, they might as well take Motu Tony's comments on Daniel Anderson and publish them. Whats the difference? Like that story, it takes up space and gives the impression of being updated.

Where do we go now? Are we another Cronulla? Are we now another Souths? Once a proud club, now a disenfranchised club heading for internal turmoil? Will we beat, or more to the point now given the clubs mentality and the players mental fitness, are we capable of a credible performance against Melbourne? Who will fill the left hand side void? Who will make Toopi look decent? Who's next?

One things for sure - the Warriors have changed today, I'm sincerely not sure its for the better. The 3rd of February 1959 will always be remembered as the day the music died, April 26 2004 will be the day the Warriors family spirit died. _________________ Run like the wind - and know you're loyal

3/2/1959 - the day the Music died. 26/4/2004 - the day the Warriors family died.