Sport Box

Archive - April 2014

Warriors to take club in new direction of mediocrity


The New Zealand Warriors today announced that they have sacked head coach Matthew Elliott has resigned following the side’s 37 – 6 loss to the Cronulla Sharks at the weekend as the club aims to move in a new direction where they won’t aim for excellence or to try and win the NRL.

Warrior’s CEO Wayne Scurrah made the announcement this morning in the hope that New Zealand’s media contingent would be fully deployed in Wellington to monitor the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. However, on finding this wasn’t the case, especially as Australian media were reporting Elliott’s sacking resignation last night, Scurrah was forced to front reporters.

“On reflection, we told Matt that his plans to make the club a regular post-season and premiership contender were simply too lofty for us to achieve,” Scurrah told reporters at Mt Smart Stadium. “We let Matt know that we’d much prefer the lower profile and reduced expectations that come from us hyping up the side’s prospects but never actually performing well.

“Frankly, the idea of living up to expectations scares the shit out of the Board and I and we’re simply not prepared to go there.”

Assistant coach Andrew McFadden will take over as acting-head coach for the remainder of the 2014 season and said he was excited about “the challenge of ensuring a mid-table finish” for the club.

“At the end of the day we’ll get more buy-in from the fans if we’re a mid-table club that threatens to make the play-offs rather than ever being one of the big boys,” McFadden said at his inaugural meet and great with the press. “There’s nothing more Kiwi than celebrating mediocrity, and that’s precisely the direction that Sir Owen Glenn and Eric Watson want to take us in. Don’t aim too high and run the risk of becoming a tall poppy that people will criticise.”

For his part, departing coach Elliott was bullish about his future prospects.

“Mate, you have no idea how relieved I am to be leaving. It’ll be nice to go someplace where they’ve actually heard of the words ‘aspiration’, ‘winning’ and ‘dedication’.”

Firebirds promise start of a false dawn


The newly crowned domestic one-day cricket champions, the Wellington Firebirds, have moved quickly to dampen expectations of their future success by promising fans that their first trophy in 12 years was only a false dawn and wouldn’t herald a new era of success for the region.

“Look, I think it’s pretty important that people realise that we were ridiculously lucky to even make it to the final,” captain James Franklin said on Saturday after the match. “Given how abysmally we played in other forms of the game, and how few international quality players we possess as a region, people shouldn’t get ahead of themselves just because we won this trophy.

“If it wasn’t for Kuggeleijn’s inability to bowl at the death, I’m pretty sure that we would have been screwed.”

Franklin went on to point out that, “We’ve seen people get far too excited about Wellington side’s winning titles before. Remember when the Lions won the NPC in 2000? They went on to do not much else for a long time, same thing when they won the Ranfurly Shield too. So as a team we’re keeping our sites set pretty low, which is basically trying not to embarrass ourselves completely next year.”

New Zealand Cricket Board member Martin Snedden agreed with Franklin’s sentiments. “We’ve seen how painful increased expectations can be,” Snedden said. “After the Blackcaps spectacular home series against the West Indies and India, getting knocked out of the T20 World Cup demonstrated how important it is to be honest about false dawns and the like.”

Snedden went on to add that, “Obviously we’d like to remind fans that, despite having home advantage, we fully expect the Blackcaps to choke at the ODI World Cup next year.”