Is it too early to read the obit?
The corpse is still warm, tapping on the inside of the coffin lid as the sod drops on its oak veneer.
So who died?
The Warriors, the success story of NRL 2020. Sure, they failed to reach the eight, but their journey, deemed doomed from the onset, was one of extraordinary courage, huge resolve, and, essentially, success.
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They had no right to be in the frame of the 2020 finals picture, they weren't even supposed to be in the same album. No one told them, though.
At times they were their own worst enemy, with the oddly timed and poorly handled ejection of coach Kearney, who frankly looked as stunned as the rest of us when he was shown the door as he attempted to hold the team together through the wreckage of Covid. In the long run, the decision could be seen as correct but that was by default not by design. You can't tell me the ownership had any idea how capable Todd Payten would be when thrust into the spotlight. I'm not sure he knew either.
There was the untimely and reckless vocal interjection from new owner Robinson, whose heart I'm sure is in the right place, but his actions had all the subtlety of an NRL ref. Good owners tend to employ the best people to run the joint, let the staff provide the headlines as opposed to using their purchase as an ego-stroking device. Still, it's his team, he can do what he likes - although is it a coincidence that the Warriors strong back-season form coincided with a very mute ownership unit? I think not.
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The team were battered by the refs, no surprise there, ripped asunder with injuries, toyed with by the whims of loan players' teams, fragmented by their own who could no longer handle being separated from their loved ones. Yet they marched on flipping a collective bird at the ramblings of next year's consultant Phil Gould.
And yes, they stumbled toward the end. But their chances of making the final eight were supposed to be less likely than Blocker Roach making sense.
Yet they went close.
Roger Tuivasa Sheck showed us what a great player he can be, Tohu Harris reminded us every week what a huge loss he was last year, Peta Hiku gave us Warriors ball of old, Harris Tevita and Kodi Nikorima hinted at their enormous potential, two halves making a whole. Jazz Tevaga's junkyard dog act gave us the mongrel we desire, a future superstar in Katoa was revealed and in interim coach Payten, we were given a timely reminder of how this team needs to be coached.
Sure, their season has been laid to rest, their mourners are weeping in the rain but we do know that when this team rises again, the ghost of 2020 will be a welcome spectre on the shoulders of the team that once again will haunt the competition.
Let's go Warriors.