Things could hardly get any worse for the Blues, not that they appear to notice. Meanwhile, the Warriors are on a fast simmer and promising to hit boiling point.

Last weekend reflected the situation: the Blues put up another lame showing against the Rebels while the Warriors snuck a thrilling win over Cronulla.

The battle of the codes in Auckland has been an ugly draw for a long time, but the hit-up brigade will scorch ahead over the next few years, rest assured.

Let's plot a magic few weeks for the Warriors and look at why they have such a promising road ahead.


1 Jim Doyle.
Steve Price will take some beating as the club's greatest signing but new chief executive Jim Doyle might come to be regarded as their best acquisition over time. He has credibility, operates in a stable way, is prepared to make public stands, has made a couple of brilliant signings in Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and halted the stadium shift disaster. Doyle can play the maverick whereas the Blues are a branch office of the New Zealand Rugby Union.

2 Sir John Kirwan.
The disastrous Blues coach is apparently going to be retained having told the board he's finally worked out what all his deficiencies are. Oh that was easy enough then. Who needs a review system when you can conduct one on yourself? Meanwhile, the players are impressed with the team culture - bet they are, especially the ones who wouldn't get a job anywhere else. Ricky Gervais could have a field day with this. They'll be doing jigs at Mt Smart.

3 Rugby's old boy network.
Ill equipped for the job ahead but judging by the likely Kirwan decision, it's alive and well in Auckland leaving the door open for the league revolution.

4 The Kiwis.
Their triumphs over the Kangaroos have injected a feel-good factor into league, which lives on crumbs publicity wise. The All Blacks rule, totally, but they can't play all the time.

5 Shaun Johnson.
This man has it all to be league's poster boy and is showing signs of bringing his test form to the NRL. Johnson is a brilliant-to-watch match winner who the kids love, like Benji Marshall in his prime.The Warriors can win titles with Johnson and the new-look squad and do it in a thrilling way, attracting future generations of players along the way.

6 Eden Park.
Mt Smart is hardly state of the art, but at least the league crowd works up an atmosphere there. Eden Park isn't quite a white elephant, but it is a turkey.

7 The rules.
The drama and importance of test rugby overcomes the sport's deficiencies but below that, too many matches remain dreary and mystifying. Take the Hurricanes: they are on fire, playing the best football in Super Rugby. But despite very reasonable ticket prices by world standards, Westpac Stadium has too many empty seats. League, with its simple and open structures and compressed action, is easy to follow and made for TV. The missing ingredient has been a winning Warriors team.

8 Status.
Super Rugby is a glorified All Blacks development system - the New Zealand Rugby Union doesn't even pretend to hide from that anymore. It is the most shambolic, uninteresting professional sports competition in the world. League's pretensions as a world sport are a bit of a joke, yes, but at least they play the NRL for keeps. Once the Warriors get their act together, real sports fans will flock to them because they represent a tribalism that is just about lost in rugby. Auckland could easily become a league town.


9 Sir John Kirwan.
Deserves another mention. Honestly - they're going to keep him with his record here and previously. This tells the story of a sporting monopoly insulated from the real world and too much in awe of All Black myths and legends.

10 Sir John Kirwan.
Seriously? Oh well, if you insist.