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

Chris Rattue: Warriors nowhere near a winning solution

Ryan Hoffman slumps over after another defeat. Photo / Getty
Ryan Hoffman slumps over after another defeat. Photo / Getty

Captain Ryan Hoffman pounded his forehead with palms in frustration, and some Warriors supporters who have been through this so many times before would have tried to dredge up the energy to do the same.

Hoffman's target was, on the face of it, the officiating but deep down probably not. Six games in and the 2016 Warriors are nowhere nearer to finding the clues to ending their malaise. They might actually be further away.

On what we saw against the Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday night, Andrew McFadden's days as Warriors coach are numbered. The next great coaching search will be on, if it isn't already.

Having broken an 11-game losing streak with two okay wins against struggling opponents, the Warriors appear more than ready to embark on a losing streak again.

It was awful, as Manly -- led by the consummately skilled Jamie Lyon -- rolled up their sleeves and the Warriors rolled over.

Manly were without their representative playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans, and it's unlikely that Brett Stewart -- the creative force from fullback with a long and perfect record against the Auckland club -- has ever done less in a game. Manly didn't do much and won by 16.

The tone was set by Tui Lolohea making a half hearted grab at a loose ball near his line, as if the winning play of the previous week against the Roosters needed the merest hint of effort to become a replay. He missed, and Manly scored.

No Warriors forward ran over 100 metres, or appeared overly interested in doing so. Even Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was down on his usual involvement, and ran at a weird angle like he was hailing a cab in Onehunga as Manly nabbed a final try. Shaun Johnson looked as if he'd gone out in sympathy with Stewart. Issac Luke was in and out of the game, more out. Ben Matulino appeared confused. Hoffman spent the game in exasperation mode and tried to spark a confrontation at the end, when everybody else just wanted to go home.

The redoubtable Thomas Leuluai made the bravest of comebacks, including strong low tackles and one particularly good run, which emphasised how bad the rest of them were. One felt tempted to reminisce about the good old days, like when Tony Kemp was in charge.

Early this season league icon Graham Lowe described the Warriors as suffering from a "bro culture", creating a mysterious bandwagon of discontent with wide rules of entry. Plenty jumped on, and they've got no reason to hop off. You could actually pinpoint the Warriors' central problem being years of constant change in most areas, leading to no particular culture at all.

Where to now? More change, probably.

Owner-chairman Eric Watson and chief executive Jim Doyle are men with healthy egos and fairly prominent profiles. No matter what is said publicly, they will have walked away from Mt Smart smarting.

Doyle engineered a coup by snaring Luke and in particular Tuivasa-Sheck and it's unlikely he contemplated this sort of two win-four loss start in his wildest nightmares.

Doyle has made a big play, and a correct one, about the need for a new stadium in Auckland which carries the implication that he has a club which could fill enough of it up to make the exercise worthwhile. His sales pitch to Tuivasa-Sheck included promoting the young man's chance to return home and spearhead a New Zealand league revolution. Right now, his plans are well and truly grounded but not in a good way.

- NZ Herald

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