Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The New Zealand Warriors today announced it had contracted two more promising young Kiwi players - Vince Mellars and Karl Te Mata.
So while the rest of the National Rugby League (NRL) clubs across the Tasman swoop like rabid seagulls for whatever titbits are on offer, the Warriors brains trust of chief executive Mick Watson and coach Daniel Anderson stealthily build the burgeoning franchise from the ground up.
Watson said the club's youth and development policy was designed with Anderson in mind.
"When I brought the strategy here there were 25,000 kids on the farm that hadn't been tapped in to," he said. "Daniel's a career coach who's highly skilled at making potential players into top first graders."
Watson used the example of utility back Brent Webb to prove his point.
Webb used to play in the Queensland domestic league competition but has flourished in his first season under Anderson to the extent he is already talked about as a future State of Origin star for Queensland.
So instead of leaping into the frantic free agent market, the Warriors have advertised for any players keen to join them to state their case.
It's partly designed to put the purchasing club on the front foot instead of allowing the player and his agent to dictate terms.
"We've been linked in the media to every player on the market. That's a player agent tactic so they can say to each club `Look how many clubs want to sign my guy'," Watson