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

Chris Rattue: Why is Auckland sport such a joke?


Apart from the basketballers, Auckland's professional sports teams are basket cases.

The weekend brought more miserable results from Auckland-based sides.

Let's start with netball's Northern Mystics who were clinging - just - to moderate respectability in the ANZ Championship until they were pulverised by the Brisbane Firebirds.

Auckland has lagged behind since the Deep South dominated the National Bank Cup, which morphed into the ill-fated transtasman league.

The Mystics think they are the Harlem Globetrotters with flashy plays and creative passes, but can't adjust when opponents wise up. The Mystics can't fight it out. They made a grand final once, but of course they didn't win it.

The Warriors have made two grand finals, but of course they didn't win them.

They also do the Harlem Globetrotters thing.

Auckland had an amazing league reputation. Aucklanders propped up in the English competition for many years, and added key players like the Sorensen brothers and Mark Graham to Australian clubs. Auckland didn't fare well in transtasman competitions (a portent maybe), but the representative team had an excellent record against international visitors.

It has all gone so wrong. The best talent bypasses or is missed by the Warriors -- think Sonny Bill Williams, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck -- who sometimes opt to buy it back. The club's record is atrocious compared to the potential.

There were typically flashy moments against Penrith on Saturday but as their frustrated captain Ryan Hoffman keeps saying, the Warriors almost never compete hard and smart for 80 minutes.

Nothing epitomises the Powerhouse to Mickey Mouse line better than the Blues, ripped apart by the Lions on a day of shame for Auckland rugby in Johannesburg.

The Lions used to be a joke, worse than the Blues. Imposing Ellis Park was home to a dire Super Rugby team. Who would have thought they would make good before the Blues? Honestly kids, Auckland was once the pride of world rugby. The Blues have been reduced to a team of power runners without enough ticker or trickery.

Then there were two transtasman football franchises which didn't survive long enough to become recognised losers, even though Auckland provided a lot of the glamour in the wonderful old domestic league.

Are there any trends in the Auckland sporting demise? All these losers are terrible away from home. The Mystics have won three of 25 in Australia, which is okay compared to the Blues away from Eden Park.

The Warriors usually trip up across the Tasman and their New Zealand record outside Auckland is shocking.

This suggests the obvious: teams from the City of Sails are showboaters who lack consistent toughness. As to why, that's another whole story.

The Auckland blues

Blues: 5th (last) in Super Rugby

NZ conference, 10th overall

Warriors: 12th in NRL overall

Mystics: 3rd in ANZ Championship NZ conference

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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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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