Here?s the clue: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

And here?s the catch: If you guess all the letters, you lose. To save yourself from the noose, you must avoid filling the blanks.

Basically, it?s Hangman in reverse. You will be punished with a letter every time you screw up. Following this so far? Good.

So let?s begin:

HAH!! Caught you! An innocent blood-bin replacement has turned into your worst nightmare. By sending on an illegal fifth replacement, you?ve just lost your first-ever two Premiership points. A seemingly small blunder that could have been swept under the carpet is magnified 350% as it ends up costing you a maiden finals berth in your first season. Parallel universes all across the spectrum are full of the success stories that would have followed if this crucial blunder had not been made ? but you won?t get to see any of those. Let?s take a look at the first letter ?

W __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Got you again!! I?ve sent in my evil little elves to trick you, and it worked like a charm. Taking the vast promises of riches from Super League may well have lined your pockets nicely, but you?ve just disenchanted the vast majority of your fans and they won?t be back in a hurry. A club that was supposed to be set up to appeal to the working-class fans has now turned it?s back on their most traditional supporters. But none of that matters of course, because you?ve managed to make a tidy profit. Bravo.

W A __ __ __ __ __ __

Wait ? what?s this?? An offer to buy your club from the Tainui tribe? Heck, they?ve got a pretty solid business case haven?t they? After all, these are the same people that accidentally sold a prime piece of real estate in Auckland for $300,000 and had to buy it back for $1.6 million. Their idea of running a footy team is to let the fans pay for the day-to-day running of the club through ticket and merchandise sales. And we all know how the money has been rolling in from those avenues recently ?

W A R R __ __ R __

So how are you going to get yourself out of the Tainui deal? Hey, I know ? why not close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears, and pretend that the club doesn?t exist? Then we can start a bright shiny new club without having to worry about the past! A plan so wickedly fiendish in it?s simplicity ? I wonder why others haven?t thought of it before? It?s just a shame that our fans (those that are left anyway) have such long memories. Anyone would think we?ve done the wrong thing by shafting half our players.

W A R R I __ R __

Now, after building a new club on a basis of such ?honesty?, it?s surely a natural progression to decide that other rules don?t need to apply to you as well. So that little post-it note reminding you not to spend too much money on player salaries can probably be ignored. What?s the worst that could happen??

W A R R I O R __

Gee, you?re getting bloody close to swinging here. The trapdoor hinges have been oiled and the crowd is all set to cheer your demise. Some of them have been waiting years for this moment. All you have to do is make just one more error ? then all I have to do is pull this cord.

That?ll be it. Once that trapdoor goes, you?re history. Finished. Kaput. I reckon I?ve been more than fair with the number of chances you?ve received ? if you?re too damn stupid to learn from your mistakes, then I can?t help you any more.

So what are you gonna do?

23 July 2006 - The relationship between the Warriors' two owners - millionaires Eric Watson and Mark Hotchin - and the NZRL has hit rock bottom and one (or both) will have to quit the league club.

Ooh, an ownership tussle. How original! Seriously, I?ve had fungus growing on my socks that learns its lessons faster than you. This is like watching two beggars in the street fight over a recently discarded cigarette butt that still has the faintest whiff of smoke emerging from it.

Who?s going to take the last drag and snuff it out forever?

Here's the S.