While things haven’t gone to plan on the field this NRL season for the Warriors they have raised the bar in terms of their conduct on and off the pitch.
In an era where arguing with the ref has become commonplace and pushing blame onto officiating after losses the default reaction by most clubs, the Warriors have fronted up. Of course that won’t be of much consolation to a fan base still waiting for a maiden premiership but it will at least help set the bar higher for the code.
The Warriors this season have implemented a decision that sees all players remain on the ground at full-time to shake hands with the referees. While I’m sure it helps earn them respect from those with the whistle it also helps send a message to fans as well. In a year where high profile players have acted in a very unprofessional manner with officials, the Warriors are doing their part to show respect and encourage others to follow their lead.
You also very rarely see captain Simon Mannering berate referees like other players do. Mannering has, at times, questioned a referee but always in a respectful manner and even that seems to occur rarely at times this season. When you compare that to the behaviour of other skippers like Jamie Lyon or Paul Gallen, one must tip their hat to Mannering and the Warriors. Gallen was at it again in last night’s loss to Melbourne, whinging to the referees at halftime about not being treated fairly. There is too much of that conduct – a referee would be right in taking that sort of complaining by a captain as dissent or an accusation of bias. There is no need for it in the game and Gallen’s moaning did nothing to change the way game was controlled in the second half – and rightly so.
While most other clubs have suffered from poor off-field behaviour over the last few years, you rarely hear of any incident involving a Warriors player. Players like Kevin Locke and Russell Packer were moved on largely because they were not demonstrating the type of behaviour club officials were demanding and kudos to them for making the tough calls.
The club has a great reputation in the community and goes above and beyond what is expected. I have personally been involved in a couple of events that the Warriors have helped a member of the community in need and they do more than the bare minimum, without asking for public acknowledgement in any form.
Being good guys doesn’t excuse them from criticism for the way they are playing on the park but when they’re getting hammered from pillar to post – a little pat on the back when deserved is only fair.