Jared Savage 's Opinion

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Jared Savage: An open letter from a Warriors fan

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Sam Tomkins, Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors look dejected after a Sharks try during the round five NRL match. Photo / Getty Images.
Sam Tomkins, Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors look dejected after a Sharks try during the round five NRL match. Photo / Getty Images.

I was just a kid when I went to the first ever Warriors match. We didn't win that day but I was hooked.

Since I moved to Auckland in 2001, I've trundled up to Mt Smart Stadium (Ericsson Stadium back then) every season. Moments of league magic have been witnessed first hand, like the Stacey Jones' drop goal for the first ever win over the Broncos, or Richard Villasanti's hit on Shane Webcke.

I was sitting in the South Stand with Iafeta Paleaaesina's aunties (well, who claimed to be) who went nuts when he made some blockbusting runs on debut.

There's a list of great players who have turned out in the Warriors' strip. There's a longer list of players who weren't so great, but we took them to heart because they were ours. Lee 'the fastest man in league' Oudenryn springs to mind for some reason. Hitro Okesene was another cult favourite. They've come and gone. So, too, have the coaches.

I've basked in the sun and sat in the rain. I've seen some incredible victories but many more insipid defeats.

The inconsistency of the team is infuriating, but almost endearing. You just 'know' - normally before season kicks off - the Warriors could surge to the grand final. So far, it's always ended in tears but it doesn't matter: because you're a Warriors' fan and you're accustomed to the rollercoaster ride. There's always hope for next season.

But the events of past week have been so dispiriting, so deflating, so disappointing.

The fallout will damage the club for years to come and I understand why the Warriors' greatest fan, Sir Mad Butcher, was so upset.



What top-flight player - or coach for that matter - would want to join this circus? What about the current squad weighing up whether to sign again?

I wouldn't blame Simon Mannering if he walked out the door. He's about the only person in the entire organisation who doesn't need to question his effort.

Some of the others around him seem to think they've 'made it' because they are professional footballers. To my mind, you've made it when you've won a premiership.

They have the talent but I question their desire. I've also questioned whether I should go to Eden Park on Sunday, even though I've already bought a ticket.

Like the Warriors, I'm 0-4 when they play there. I will turn up because I want to watch the players, to see if they can dig the club out of this enormous hole. Only winning games will do that. I'd even settle to walk away 0-5 if they lose with heart.

The fans deserve it.

Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor and has won several national journalism awards, including Senior Reporter of the Year. His journalism career started at a suburban Auckland newspaper in 2004, before joining the Herald on Sunday in 2006 and moving to the Herald in 2009. He has written about education, health, local body politics, sport and crime, as well as reporting on the natural disasters of the Christchurch earthquakes and the tsunami in Samoa. Jared has a Bachelor of Communications Studies from AUT.

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