Hugh McGahan is a former Kiwis player and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Hugh McGahan: Success easy act to follow

Thomas Leuluai. Photo / Richard Robinson.
Thomas Leuluai. Photo / Richard Robinson.

I got it wrong when early in the season I said Thomas Leuluai was not the answer for the Warriors as a half.

To me, he was an able player but his best position was in the hooker/dummy half role. Now I will gladly proclaim that Leuluai, along with Simon Mannering, has been a stable influence, keeping the team from capitulating when performances were terrible and providing the same during the winning streak.

There are not enough of these types of players in this team, which does not allow for consistency of performance.

Dependability is a characteristic a coach is looking for in players, so they can concentrate on game plans, tactics and recruitment. Look at the Melbourne Storm - the playmakers are their key. They have Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, while the Warriors have Kevin Locke, Shaun Johnson and Nathan Friend in the same positions.

The latter is not in the same class as Smith, and with the other two, the consistency is a gulf apart. It is obvious why the Storm win more games, as Cronk, Smith and Slater outplay their counterparts every week.

Gareth Widdop, prior to his injury, and Leuluai for the Warriors cancel each other out for their composure and consistency, as do Mannering and Ryan Hoffman.

The only thing consistent about the Warriors' backs, including Manu Vatuvei, Konrad Hurrell and Dane Nielsen, is their inconsistency, especially compared with Sisa Waga, Maurice Blair, Will Chambers and Justin O'Neill.

The forwards follow a similar pattern. Question marks continue to plague the Warriors. The formula is easy and the Storm mix it better every week compared to the Warriors. The only thing I see consistent with some Warriors players is their perfection in post-try celebrations.

We have all seen the capabilities of the Warriors during their winning streak; they sent fear through the competition because of what they can do when their confidence is high. That came from the momentum of winning games, but should be borne out of the knowledge they can play with aggression, skill and composure every week.

With the Storm, people expect them to play well because they have a reputation for doing so. What will we get from the Warriors in 2014?

- Herald on Sunday

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Hugh McGahan is a former Kiwis player and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Hugh Joseph McGahan MBE was a renowned rugby league player and coach who represented New Zealand in no less than 53 test matches, captaining 17 of them. Beginning his career in Auckland he later moved to Sydney where he played over 100 matches for the Roosters, finishing his career in 1991 as captain-coach of the eastern Sydney outfit. Accolades were never far away from the impressive Kiwi lock and in 1987 McGahan jointly won the prestigious Golden Boot Award, the first row forward at the time to win the award. Hugh McGahan’s international career was similarly impressive coming to the fore in 1982 after scoring a remarkable six tries for the Kiwis against Papua New Guinea in Auckland. Hugh Mcgahan ended his career with distinguished honours as he was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to rugby and later inducted into the NZRL Legends of League. He continues to write sports columns for the New Zealand Herald.

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