2010 Position: 5th (14 wins, 10 losses)
Gains: Steve Rapira (North Queensland Cowboys), Krisnan Inu (Parramatta Eels), Feleti Mateo (Parramatta Eels), Shaun Berrigan (Hull FC, ESL)
Losses: Steve Price (Retirement), Siutonga Likiliki (Newcastle Knights), Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Ian Henderson (Catalans Dragons, ESL), Elijah Niko (Melbourne Storm), Mark Ioane (Canberra Raiders), Nafe Seluini (Penrith Panthers)
2010 was a year the Warriors surprised many finishing 5th on the NRL ladder and qualifying for the NRL finals. Not many fans predicted the Warriors to even make the 8 and with a 24-18 loss to the Titans and key recruitment Brett Seymour injured, it seemed to be going that way again in 2010. During the season they managed to string up some convincing wins, as well as some very ordinary losses, which made them a difficult team to tip.
Coach Ivan Cleary will have some work to do to again make the Warriors a competitive team in 2011. He’s off-contract at the end of this year, so this will give him some extra incentive to do what he needs to do to make the Warriors a more competitive and consistent outfit. Halves James Maloney and Brett Seymour will be required to lead the team around the park and dynamic winger Manu Vatuvei will no doubt be a key attacking weapon in 2011.
Boosted by the recruitments of Feleti Mateo, Shaun Berrigan, Krisnan Inu and Steve Rapira, the Warriors have filled in a few spots made vacant by departing players from the previous year and Cleary will no doubt want the Warriors to get to a good start to 2011. The question remains whether the recruits can be consistent players and whether the change of club will help with their form.
What went right in 2010: The Warriors improved on a disappointing 2009 season with 14 wins and showed what they were capable of in attack as well as defence. Having no players to lose during State Of Origin rep duty meant the Warriors could keep the same side and take advantage of the teams who were weakened with the loss of a few players. Key players James Maloney and Lance Hohaia did not miss many games which kept the Warriors stable and not needing to rotate a lot of players. Brent Tate also had a successful season playing more games than his previous years. Young forward Ukuma Ta’ai was also a find for the Warriors developing into a devastating running backrower and will no doubt want to build on his successful 2010 season.
What went wrong in 2010: Defence was a big issue at times with the Warriors sometimes conceding up to 40-50 points. However at times their defence was excellent, sometimes only conceding a try or two against very good attacking sides. Ivan Cleary will want to fine tune the Warriors defence so that score lines in the 40-50s do not happen again. Losing Steve Price for the season was a huge blow for the Warriors, however other key props such as Matulino, Packer and Rapira stepped up well in his absence. During the first week of the finals they let the Titans get away to a big lead and were unable to get back in front, sending them bundling out of the finals.
Final say for 2011: The Warriors younger players are developing nicely after winning the Toyota Cup, and with the recruitments of some experienced players, as well as dynamic forward Feleti Mateo, the Warriors are in a strong position to do well again in 2011. But like most sides that have recruited well and improved their roster, the Warriors will be relying on halves Brett Seymour and James Maloney as well as fullback Lance Hohaia to lead them. Captain Simon Mannering who took over as captain last season, will not have Price around for advice but handled the job well last year when Price was out injured for the season. Coach Cleary now has the job of building on last year by putting it all together and hoping they perform well together on the field.