Mike Hosking: The Warriors' latest loss means their season is over

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 29 Jun 2020, 12:28PM
Warriors players look dejected after another Storm try. (Photo / Getty)

Mike Hosking: The Warriors' latest loss means their season is over

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 29 Jun 2020, 12:28PM

If you haven't seen the scenes in the Warriors dressing room after their match on Friday night, have a look.

Cameron Smith and Craig Bellamy of the Melbourne Storm are in there trying, I think unsuccessfully, to tell them it isn't the end of the world.

It looked like the end of the world, they lost in spectacular fashion.

When we talked to Richie Barnett last week and I suggested they might implode, I didn’t say that because I wanted that to happen, I said it because I have followed the side for over 25 years, and mental fragility, unfortunately, has been an Achilles heel for most of that time. And I saw no real reason to believe it wasn’t going to be something that might haunt them again.

Barnett suggested otherwise, sadly he was wrong.

The season is over. Even if they win again, even if they win again in outlandish spectacular fashion, which they probably will, this isn't their year. The owners in sacking Stephen Kearney have killed it, they finished it for them prematurely.  

Even if the plan is to hire someone and give them time to reshape and recruit, all of which makes sense, they do it at the expense of this season.

In some senses it's logical. What a mess of a year. As spectacular as the return is for the NRL, one of the first major sports to be back, the poor old Warriors had the biggest burden to carry. Being overseas, no family for months on end, it was always a big ask.

If Kearney's sacking had been a relief, it might be different, but he wasn’t. He was liked, admired, and his demise has clearly been the final straw. To lose is one thing, even to lose badly to a side like Melbourne, but to then have a bunch of your better, if not best, players saying they want to go home is all the proof required that 2020 will go down as the Warriors' worst of years.

Top level sport is psychological. They're all fit and talented, what makes the difference is the mindset. The set up the Warriors face would have tested anyone, far less a side that has rarely fired on all cylinders in the best of times, far less the worst.

I don’t blame the players. You could argue they're professionals and it's their job, but like all things in life there has to be a quid pro quo. To excel you need the right circumstances. Their circumstances are abysmal, and the past week they got worse.

It's going to be a hard watch. A beleaguered side turning out for the rest of the season to meet obligations and little more. The owners better have something pretty good for next year if they want the faithful to even contemplate sticking around.