The sublimely talented Jones has recently come back from several years in the UK Super League and his presence should surely add some guile and creativity to the improving Warriors half combination of Michael Witt and Grant Rovelli. Since his departure, the Warriors have always struggled in the halves – apart from an impressive 2007 which saw New Zealand not only reach the NRL Final 8 but actually host a home final.
Things are seemingly on the rise for the Warriors, they have secured the services of a quality coach in Ivan Cleary and their roster boasts several Australian Internationals which helps bring a nice blended brand of football to the sometimes over exuberant polynesian style they previously possessed.
With Steve Price having the year of his life in 2007, the Warriors will be hoping they can achieve the same with the aging Brent Tate. Tate’s natural talent and passion cannot be questioned, but the popular Queenslander has struggled deeply with injury in the past 2 years and many feel it may be a big ask for the former International representative to again climb to the lofty heights of the past. Under a new coach and new environment, it might be just the tonic Tate needs to revive his best game and brush off the injury woes; fortunately for the NZ Warriors his presence alone on the field will add confidence and structure in 2008 – something in the past that goes MIA at the Warriors.
Judging by 2007 results, a strong home crowd following and the addition of some quality troops and coaching skills in Stacey Jones, the Warriors are a realistic chance of taking the NRL Premiership in 2008. Many say Melbourne cannot be beaten, but the style of NRL the Warriors can sometimes turn on might be just the magic to topple the might of the Storm juggernaut.