Warriors strive for consistency - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors strive for consistency

By Joe Barton 02/03/2011 04:04:18 PM Comments (0)

The Warriors have made an art form of confusing NRL tipsters so it's no wonder coach Ivan Cleary identifies consistency as the key goal for his highly-promising 2011 roster.

The Warriors have been the yo-yo diet of the competition.

A miracle finals run in 2008 generates talk of a breakthrough premiership, before they fall back to the bottom of the heap in 2009 and suddenly the Auckland club look miles away from success - but typically bounce back by finishing fifth last season.

Given they exceeded expectations last year, recent history would dictate that Ivan Cleary's men are ready for a slide.

But realistically, there is no reason for the Warriors to accept anything less than a top four spot.

After charging home last season, they have added a mix of flair, experience and toughness to their roster.

Of the players they've lost, the influential Steve Price missed all of 2010 anyway.

It all looks good - if they can add that elusive ingredient.

"Consistency is something that every team strives for," Cleary said.

"On paper the platform is there. We've still got a pretty young team and a lot of those guys theoretically should be better again this year.

"But we know it doesn't always work out that way.

"That's why it's something we're working hard at and I think the competitive nature of our squad at the moment should help that."

Across their squad the Warriors have enviable depth, starting with a glut of quality outside backs through to their invariably strong forward pack led by skipper Simon Mannering.

But it is the four playmakers battling it out for the halves positions that has already caused the most headaches.

Brett Seymour and James Maloney put their hands up for long-term holds on the roles last year before injuries intervened, and key recruit Feleti Mateo seems perfectly suited to the Warriors' exciting brand of football.

But young playmakers Isaac John and Shaun Johnson have also generated plenty of buzz this pre-season.

"It's going to be difficult squeezing the team in full stop, there's a lot of positions that are like that," Cleary said.

"I guess the halves, and deciding where Feleti will play, is the biggest decision I'll have at the start of the season.

"We've got a few options there and it's a good problem to have.

"The main thing is, regardless of what number is on Feleti's back, he's probably going to be playing a similar way anyway."

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