Kids made to apologise after asking Warriors why they lose so often

Author
Brittany Keogh, NZ Herald ,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Saturday, 23 September 2017, 6:44AM
Two pupils at an Auckland school were sent to "time out" and made to write an apology letter after asking visiting Warriors players why they lost so often (Photosport)
Two pupils at an Auckland school were sent to "time out" and made to write an apology letter after asking visiting Warriors players why they lost so often (Photosport)
Two pupils at an Auckland school were sent to "time out" and made to write an apology letter after asking visiting Warriors players why they lost so often.

Blockhouse Bay Intermediate principal Michael Malins confirmed the school's action, but wouldn't reveal the exact wording of the questions.

But the Weekend Herald has been told by a source that one student asked why the team were so bad, and a second pupil - said to be a football fan who knew little about rugby league - asked where the team sat on the points table during the school visit earlier this month.

The Warriors finished the 2017 NRL in 13th position out of 16 teams; a result which has left long-suffering fans fuming especially given their star-studded playing roster including Shaun Johnson, Kieran Foran, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Isaac Luke.

Malins confirmed yesterday that the school's deputy principal spoke to two boys about the nature of their questions which were deemed "disrespectful" to the school's guests.

"The boys had time out to think about their actions and wrote letters of apology to the Warriors for disrespecting our school value of Manaakitanga. This was not a punishment, rather a restorative practice to apologise," he said.

Manaakitanga roughly translates to "hospitality" in English.

The online Māori Dictionary defines the term as "the process of showing respect, generosity and care for others".

The questions posed by the two schoolboys echoed those asked by many fans who saw the team - ranked as title contenders by some pundits on both sides of the Tasman pre-season - as big-time flops.

Warriors chief executive Cameron George confirmed the club received an apology letter from two Blockhouse Bay Intermediate schoolboys.

He would not comment on the appropriateness of the reprimand, saying that was up to the school to determine.

While he didn't witness the questions being asked, he told the Weekend Herald he understood they were about the team's on-field performance.

George said attending community events and school visits was "one of the good things" about being in the team and the players that visited Blockhouse Bay Intermediate "absolutely" still enjoyed the experience.

The team was used to fielding curly questions from both the media and school kids, he said.

"They're hard men. It's not the first time they've been questioned."

The Warriors finished the season on a losing streak of nine losses in a row; the worst in their 22-year history.

On the eve of the last match of the season - which they lost to the Wests Tigers in Sydney - coach Steve Kearney tried to be upbeat and create positives from failed season.

"I've got to say that through the course of the year it's been very challenging in the sense of results but they've turned up every week with a real attitude to want to improve," Kearney said.

"Their attitudes and energies have been wonderful given the circumstances."

And their faltering year saw many of their previous most-loyal fans turn on them via social media, including on the Warriors very own Facebook page.

The numbers of fans turning up at Mt Smart for home games also dwindled in 2017, with the Warriors having an average home attendance of 11,754 a match - the second lowest of all the NRL's 15 teams.

As the side fell apart on the field, owner Eric Watson also signalled towards the end of the season that he was prepared to sell the club which he bought in late 2000.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Education said it had not been made aware of the incident.

NZ Herald

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