Rome wasn’t built in a day...and neither it seems was the New Zealand Warriors attacking machine. In fact it’s fair to say that after their performance last night against the Sydney Roosters it’s still very much a work in progress.
Sure, the weather’s continuously snarly disposition made its presence felt with a menacing torrent of precipitation, offering very little assistance to anyone with notions of taking the attacking bull by the horn. That said, not once in their 13-6 loss did they look remotely like breaking Sydney City’s defensive line despite a plethora of possession.
Riveting attack it was not.
Having had the previous week off they looked fresh. With gusto the forwards hauled the ball up the middle. Starting props Russell Packer and Ben Mautalino were animated. They dared, certainly cared and were too constantly to display no wear and tear from their early ambitions. Packer was more akin to a rampaging bullock than a prop forward as he bullied his way along the park with multiple defenders hanging on for dear life.
The keen observer would have noticed an error free effort from the Warriors. Not so their foe. Sydney City simply invited the visitors to run away with the game. A compulsive urge, they seemed to have, to gift an eighty minute window of scoring opportunities to the Warriors.
If only those warriors had of been more in tune with their attacking feelings on the night. They had set up camp early on in the Roosters half and stayed there for much of first thirty minutes. Aptitude for the task at hand, though, was lacking. Their passing appeared laboured. Perhaps they were paying the weather more respect than it deserved. Lateral movement became the norm.
We should, of course, give credit to the Roosters for a mighty effort in keeping the Warriors scoreless. When forced to defend for seventy percent of the time, it takes a courageous effort to keep an opposition out of one’s own in-goal area. And that they did. They had waited patiently and good things came to them. That they went into the break 12-0 ahead was testament to their perseverance.
Even though the Warriors crossed for an early second half try to Simon Mannering, it was very much a case of deja vu as the first half repeated itself. Try as they might they couldn’t quite get across the white stripe. A frustrating night for them it was.
The pity of it all was that -outside of their attack- there was so much to like about their work.
Once again defence starred for them. In the previous eight matches only twice have they conceded points in the final twenty minutes. Last night was one of those occasions, and even then it was nothing more than a field goal that was conceded.
Their kicking game was good, and the kick/chase was even better.
Now, if they could just fix that attack up...