Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

League: Warriors fans need patience

Issac Luke. Photo / GETTY IMAGES
Issac Luke. Photo / GETTY IMAGES

It was never going to happen immediately, but seeing the Warriors reach their potential might take longer than expected. Michael Burgess looks at some of the issues facing the Auckland club.

1 Find some urgency - in a hurry

The unfortunate trait of switching off at the wrong times remains a massive Achilles heel for the Warriors. It happened again on Friday for the first Broncos try, when a simple but well-executed move caught out some inattentive defenders on the short side. And allowing Corey Oates to escape from the in-goal was a bad look, as three players stopped chasing when they thought he was trapped.

2 Can they solve the Konrad Hurrell dilemma?

Hurrell has fulfilled his side of the bargain, returning in his best ever shape, and now deserves a chance. It's an unusual situation when a player can make the All-Stars but is stuck in reserve grade at his club. There are well acknowledged reasons but if coach Andrew McFadden can get the best out of Hurrell it will be a massive boost for both men.

3 Spine needs surgery

As a quartet, the Warriors spine has been outplayed by their opposites in both games this season. Against the Broncos, Shaun Johnson didn't run enough, Jeff Robson ran too much, Issac Luke ran out of gas and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ran into problems. Johnson and Tuivasa-Sheck need to have a platform for their running games and Robson should concentrate on putting others into gaps, not finding them himself. These things take time but the Warriors don't have that luxury.

4 Communication breakdown

Much of the Warriors' woes stem from communication. On attack, they are often not on the same wavelength - witness the amount of fifth-tackle kicks against the Broncos that chasers were unprepared for and reacted too late. On defence, it is even more glaring, as players are left pointing at thin air as an opponent sails through a gap.

5 Bringing back the Sheck-effect

When you buy a marquee talent like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, it's imperative you build a strategy around him, rather than expecting the former Rooster to fit into your game plan. He's not Sam Tomkins, so why are the Warriors running the same wrap backline plays they were using when the Englishman was here? They worked because of Tomkins' sleight of hand and vision. Tuivasa-Sheck is best employed running off the hip of forwards up the middle, and taking advantage of offloads.

6 Where is Thomas Leuluai?

Leuluai has almost become the forgotten man at the Warriors. He was due back at the start of this season, before a setback in January delayed his return. He is desperately needed. Leuluai is the club's best one-on-one defender and brings a toughness few match. He's also a handy foil for Shaun Johnson.

7 A team of stars ...

... Will always struggle against a star team. The Warriors have yet to gel this season, and too often look like a bunch of individuals rather than a team focused on one direction. Their roster is the envy of many clubs, but it doesn't mean a lot if they are not putting out a focussed, unified effort.

8 Settle on a game plan

Currently the strategy isn't clear. How are they going to win football games? They competed well in the arm wrestle on Friday night, but it was always going to be tough outlasting the Broncos. But their attacking game is conservative - offloads were rare at Suncorp Stadium and set plays pedestrian.

9 Can we clone Bodene Thompson?

Bodene Thompson has set the benchmark for Warriors' purchases. He has been a fantastic buy. Look for the mid-range experienced guys who have a few seasons under their belts but still a lot to prove.

10 But ... the winless streak will end soon

A Warriors' victory song is surely not far away, especially with three of their next four games in Auckland.

- Herald on Sunday

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