It seems many of us have short memories as the inevitable 'excitement' around 2018 builds. I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but it's worth putting everything into context before we all get carried away by exclamations around 'best ever recruitment' and 'hardest ever pre-season'. Fact #1. Steve Kearney is STILL coach. Kearney's first grade coaching record now stands at 66 matches; 17 wins; 48 losses; and 1 draw, at a wholly unimpressive 25.8% winning ratio. Get your head around that. It is literally one of the worst winning percentages in NRL coaching history. Heck, even Craig 'Tugger' Coleman had a better one at Souths (31.5%). You want to know what Matty Elliott's overall winning percentage is? 45.7. McFadden? 43.3. Kearney's is barely past 25%. It's atrocious, and no amount of excuses about poor clubs, poor rosters and other familiar refrains can be justifiably thrown out in his defence. This season, the Warriors had a decent roster. It was certainly a much better roster than their final position on the ladder would attest to. So before you get all buzzed about what lies ahead, remember the good ship Warriors is being steered by one of the worst NRL coaches in history. And no one should feel enthused by that - least of all the players. Fact #2. There will be virtually no Aussies in the first grade line-up next season. Want to know how good an all-Kiwi side is? Just check out this RLWC. Or the previous few Test matches against the Aussies. Our Kiwi 'stars' are majorly over-hyped and over-rated. And the proof lies in the recent performances. Further, there has never been a near all Kiwi Warriors team that has ever threatened the top 8. The best Warriors teams have always featured a well curated blend of enthusiastic, motivated Kiwis, and hard nosed, gritty Aussies. Think back to the Anderson years with Campion, Tookey, Carlaw and others. Then later with Price, Luck, Cleary, and so on. This Warriors side, more than ever, needs those tough Aussies in there to prick the soft shells of our Kiwi lads and get them playing above themselves. Instead, the likely make-up of the 2018 side, however 'impressive' you consider it to be on paper, is a disaster in the making. There's NO hard-edge about it. It looks awfully soft, and it will get found out very quickly when the going gets tough. But I guess what's new, right? Fact #3. We lost 2 of our hardest trainers. You really think Hoffman and Lillyman were the problem? Seriously? Hoffman may not have done a whole lot on the field, but he put in off the field. What's more, he got cranky at those that didn't. Why do you think Bellamy took him back at this stage of career. He's a battler, he's a fighter, and he almost certainly wasn't part of the Warriors problem. Lillyman, too, is an Origin player, respected by all in the know for his off-field work ethic. You don't think he was putting in at training when the rest of the team were slacking off? Ok, so perhaps Matulino and Lolohea won't be missed. But Matulino should really be the game's leading prop, and he briefly was a few years back. The fact that he wasn't is a more an indictment on the coaching staff. Doubtless he will thrive away from Auckland. Fact #4. Not much has changed, but what has is not all positive. Remember at the start of last season when we were told by Doyle that the Warriors now had the 'finest coaching line-up' in the club's history? How did that go? Well, the one coach in the mix who was probably half decent has since left, leaving the two that weren't behind in his wake. Throw Tony Iro - yes, that Tony Iro - into the mix as the reserve grade coach, and you arguably have the WORST coaching line-up in Warriors history. And I include Bluey's set-up in that comparison. At a 36.4% winning NRL record, Bluey was practically a super coach compared to what we have in there now. Yes, the addition of strength-conditioning coach Alex Corvo should add some much needed spark to the team. He will brutalise the pre-Christmas trainers with plenty of running. But no amount of extra fitness can make up for a badly coached and poorly motivated squad. They'll still play like headless chickens. Only now, they'll probably do it for longer periods of the game. Fact #5. For the vast bulk of the first grade team, this will be a shortened pre-season anyway. They're all off playing rep footy. So Corvo WILL break some spirits, but it won't be the spirits that matter. The bigger names in the squad will come back after Christmas and will have only a few weeks before the season proper kicks off. Given the horrors of last year, these guys desperately needed a full pre-season to whip them into shape - both mentally and physically. As it stands, they will enter 2018 - with the most players involved in the RLWC - seriously underdone. No, I think 2018 could easily be worse than last season. In fact, I'm convinced that nothing will change at the Warriors until the purse strings are dramatically loosened (and that is what it will take) and a top drawer coach is brought in. Rack your brain for the last time we had one. Anderson, perhaps. But since then - with one exception - it's been one failed coach after the other. Yes, we blame the players for their slack attitudes, and that's painful to watch. But really, it all starts at the top. Players have to completely buy into the culture, the philosophy, the message of the head coach. Since Clearly, that's been left to McClennan, Elliott, McFadden and Kearney. Honestly, who would be enthused by that motley crew of messengers? Not me. You?