With the season now within smelling distance, the appetite for NRL fans is becoming stronger and strange as it may have been back in the day, New Zealand NRL fans are now amongst the hungriest in the game.
The Warriors have created an expectation for their fans that is quite incredible. Three men have led this change in the acceptance of our game of Rugby League. It wasn’t too long ago when rugby union dominated the culture of sport in this country of New Zealand.
But this has now changed for several reasons.
Rugby Union has shot itself in the foot and is near to needing life support.
It has failed to match the weekly dynamic performances put on by the NRL with the home side – the Warriors, capturing a totally new and bigger audience.
The three men I consider responsible for wonderful change and image of the game here in NZ are their owner, Mark Robinson.
Their coach, Andrew Webster and the super star playmaker, Shaun Johnson.
Their owner is not only a very successful businessman who leads Autex Industries, Mark Robinson has heard the sound of the sprigs on the concrete, so he has an intimate understanding of the game.
Andrew Webster the Warriors head coach, is a breath of fresh air in a game that sadly, sometimes attracts coaches who think they have invented everything except the air that goes into the ball.
And the third of this trio is Shaun Johnson.
The last thing I want to do in writing this is to put the mocker on him, but wow, what a player.
Age will not hold him back because he has pure class in a similar way that Allan Langer had class.
I would loved to have had the opportunity to coach Johnson because he is my style of player, just as Alfie was.