Why do NZ Warriors need to look for talent outside of their pathways though when there seems to be an abundance of talent within their own setup and they also have a monopoly of NZ RL youth talent?
Probably the most asked Question by NZ fans.
The answer is complex and with all sports it starts with the sports Culture the players are bred in. Thirty + years I've been involved in the game here, and had experience with how the games run in Australia....lots of solutions have been tried....but the problem is the fundamantal model.
NZ shouldn't have to go offshore. The Warriors have been through the full import versus local development cycle a couple of times....and are still scratching their heads as to why don't these young Athletes thrive in the Warriors own systems.
We're just coming off a puritst local development model ( failed ) with the club crashing to it's worst results ever.
The problem in NZ has been the lack of a School competition. There is a constant battle with Union to try to establish a realistic League game in Highschools ( one of the first areas targeted by the Warriors new parnership...they now sponsor a modest new Auckland School boy comp , top Union Schools have opted out so far ).
The under twenties competition is relatively new. Our results speak for themselves , three grand finals , back to back titles, lowest finish Fourth.
We dominate Junior football , but the way that has been approached ( picking giant players ) has had a long term negative effect , the Warriors have too narrow a player type to choose from for their Fg side.
This is where importing Juniors from another system had merit as an idea. Players ideally who don't find the game comes ' too easily' for them and players that have to think their way through games when confronted with pressure when they make NRL level.
Clearly the long term solution needs a long term fix. There have been some important steps taken ( setting up the schools comp and the early promotion of the most promising Juniors to the Mens open reserve grade comp to harden them off / seperate the wheat from the Chaff ). The Million dollars going into School league will pay off for the NZ game , it's a hundred years behind.
In the mean time bringing in kids from the UK could be seen as an experiment in changing the player type in the short term.
In hindsight importing forwards was the wrong way to go. Being big and fast with power and an offload probably isn't an imbalanced player type in a forward.
The other way the Warriors are trying to 'import the new' is the number of kids being scouted from the Union system here, they also have more rounded skills and come from a professional system at school level.
I would say if you look at players like Konrad Hurrell and Shaun Johnson....both imported from other codes.....our coaching systems are well on target.....however our past model for developing junior League players here was well off where it should be ( wrong overview....wrong model ).
The Juniors coach who built the original dynasty ( John Akland ) was let go by the club , because his primary goal was winning Under 20's titles when it should have been recruiting the type of talent we are seeing....kids in mens grade....backs who look like Backs instead of fast props on the Wing.
To be fair to Akland he had a nose for talent , two school kids he scouted for the Bulldogs from the Auckland School system went ok ( Assotasi and SBW ).
You can't go away from the problem the Warriors have importing players from Aus. That's a massive disadvantage against fifteen teams that can recruit relatively freely.
As you know footballs a business , and as such.....since our Australasian market is a closed shop for us, the Warriors would be remiss not to look at talent in other systems.
They should realy be the most agressive recruiters in the NRL of ESL talent, taking the emotion of poaching the UK's talent out of the argument , the Warriors should lead the rest of the NRL in this area....because of thier unique diadvantage in NRL recruitment.