The Warriors - they’re the real deal right now and if there’s any signs of a team that’s gonna give this comp a good shake this year, there it is.
They’ve got three more home games in a row, so they could be undefeated for the first 10 rounds.
When you go to New Zealand, yeah all the talk’s about the All Blacks - but there’s a lot of talk about the Warriors too.
They’ve really earned their stripes over there and when the Warriors come here and play in Australia, they get a massive, a massive turnout no matter where they play.
There’s a lot of New Zealanders living in Australia and they come out in great numbers when the Warriors play. But at the end of the day, no matter if you’re from Australia or New Zealand or wherever, you know you’re going to get something entertaining out of them.
It’s a powerful thing for those boys too, knowing they’re representing more than just a football club, very powerful.
What the New Zealand Warriors have and is so unique and so special and so rare, is that they have a culture. They’re not only representing the game of rugby league, or the nation of New Zealand, but they have a culture over there with Samoan boys and Tongan boys and the Polynesian communities and the love of Maori people.
They have a strong culture, they have strong belief systems and that’s what they’re playing for every week in, week out. As well as their supporters right around the globe, they’re a club that’s got strong identity and strong culture and it’s just paying dividends for them right now.
When I’m talking culture, you jump off the plane at the airport in New Zealand and you’re seeing artefacts and you feel that you’re in a very spiritual and cultural place.
I’ve been to the Warriors club and I’ve watched them play and it actually gives you goosebumps because you think, ‘These guys have got it right. The New Zealand community and the traditional people of New Zealand have got it right’.
A band of brothers
And that’s where we need to be as an Aboriginal people and Aboriginal players and the country with that. We need to be where they are.
In terms of their football, everyone’s a fan of the Warriors because they can play good football. They throw the ball around, they offload. But now, you can be an even bigger fan now because they believe in themselves, they’re fit and their defence has been unbelievable.
The difference it seems this year on the field is they believe in themselves.
They get in a huddle and do this little breathing trick where they’re talking to each other: ‘Some deep breaths, let’s relax and stay focused, stay mindful’.
To be a band of brothers is good, but to believe in yourself like that and all be on the one ledger, it’s something special.
We’re seeing it right now. After every try or penalty, they form a huddle and a circle and they’re sitting in there and they’re talkin' to each other because they’re talking themselves through the game.
And the way they’re playing football, I’m a massive fan.
They just need to keep doing what they’re doing. Keep to the basics, keep believing in themselves.
At the moment, the positives are that the more they keep winning, the better they’re gonna start firmly believing in themselves even more and trusting each other.
And that’s what you need in defence and attack when you’re playing in this competition. That’s how you win competitions – having trust in the bloke inside and outside of ya; believing in what they can do.
Something magical happening across the Tasman?
And Roger Tuivasa-Sheck out the back, he reminds me of three or four years ago when he burst on the scene at the Roosters. He’s been great and he looks fit.
I don’t know what they keys are over there but they’re doing something magical over there across the Tasman and it’s paying off.
Also in magic form is Ash Taylor at the Gold Coast Titans. If Ash Taylor doesn’t play, then the Gold Coast Titans probably don’t win.
For such a young man who’s only played 50 NRL games, he’s been playing the game like he’s been there for 10 years.
No doubt he’s a strong chance to be Queensland halfback and in the next couple of weeks I’ll have a look at some of the emerging Aboriginal superstars in the NRL, who I think must be picked in the representative sides.
Until then, join us for a bit of fun and to look at all of the big issues in rugby league, on Over the Black Dot, live on NITV on Tuesday nights.
For more Owen Craigie and Rugby League hot topics, tune into Over the Black Dot, live tonight at 8pm on NITV (Ch. 34). Join the conversation #OverTheBlackDot