Chris Rattue 's Opinion

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: Warriors fans are having all the fun

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Dominique Peyroux is tackled during the tense match against the Bulldogs. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Dominique Peyroux is tackled during the tense match against the Bulldogs. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Some described it as the week from hell and at times the latest Warriors league mayhem felt like a controversy too far. But as game day approached, the spirits lifted - it was time to enjoy the whacky Warriors yet again.

From the boardroom war to Sky league commentator Daryl Halligan's unmatched ability to mangle the English language, the Warriors are one crazy circus. Chief executive Wayne Scurrah has even promised to quit the club if it doesn't make the finals, which means the man has probably staked his career on the bounce of a ball ... or something even less certain like Manu Vatuvei catching the ball. And when did promising to streak up Queen St on a punt go out of fashion?

But hey - at least the Warriors are interesting. In a funny way, they should welcome all the media coverage stemming from the sacking of coach Matt Elliott and co-owner Owen Glenn igniting a loony war of words.

The time for the Warriors to really worry is when people stop talking about them. And compared with rugby's overblown and dull Super 15, the madcap NRL is a winner.

The Warriors have been ludicrous for two decades but they've given sports nuts something to go nuts about. And the Warriors are still kicking, even if it results in self-inflicted wounds.

The curtain came down on a dramatic week with a gripping finish to the clash against the famously tough Bulldogs. Having disgraced themselves against Cronulla, the Warriors played for keeps. They didn't win, but it's possible to play well and lose. That's sporting life.

The Warriors also did something rare - they brought Eden Park to life, including a moderately sized crowed chanting the club's name. This was stirring stuff.

I conducted an inadvertent study via television on Saturday night, while flicking between A-League soccer and NRL matches across the ditch, and the Chiefs' Super 15 game against the Rebels in Hamilton.

On this makeshift atmosphere gauge, the soccer match won hands down. The league was also pretty good. The rugby limped to a very distant third even though it involved the double champions in an unexpectedly tense finish. New Zealand rugby crowds rarely appear joyous or animated.

Calling psychologists and sociologists - start your engines please. Moving on ... New Warriors coach Andrew McFadden won't be jumping for joy on his first start as head coach, even though his side stopped the rot. A man being portrayed as a straight thinker and talker - replacing the mysterious Elliott - saw two points go down the drain.

McFadden has already made a clear mark, injecting more dummy half running into the plan and using Ben Matulino as a ball player on the fringes presumably to compensate for Feleti Mateo's axing.

It was a promising start for McFadden, but you won't see any bold predictions about a wonderful Warriors future here. However, I'm comfortable predicting another weird drama is on the way.

- NZ Herald

Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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