This is the end…
by Zand Moloney
27 Apr 2004
Well, that’s it then, the season effectively at an end with two weeks to go. This has been the most frustrating season I have endured watching the ‘Canes because everything looked set for continuation or perhaps improvement on last years form but it seems the team has gone backwards.
The problem seems to be that the Hurricanes tended to rely on one or two game-breakers (Cullen, Lomu and Umaga mostly) to open the game up when nothing else was on, but out of those three players one left to go off-shore, one left through illness, while Umaga spent most of the season trying to shrug off injuries.
The games against the Waratahs and Highlanders summed up the season, not too far off but also not quite there. The inability to regather kick-off’s meant that although the ‘Canes managed to score good tries against an effective NSW unit they were constantly on the back foot. Without much possesion they needed to secure all the ball that came their way, but that didn’t happen.
The Highlanders game was similar, the only reason the ‘Canes stayed close for so long was that the southerners were equally dire. In the end it was the brilliance of Nick Evans, and perhaps the bounce of the ball that went against the boys but really they can’t feel too hard done by.
Colin Cooper has singled out the poor attitude of the players as the main factor in the mediocre efforts, that is no doubt a problem however it seems certain players haven’t been given a fair go.
Kristain Ormsby has always proved himself as a line-out option and with the ball in hand and could count himself unlucky not to get more chances.
Similarly Tane Tuipulotu has been the star back for the ‘Canes and one of the best in the country but had to give up his place to Ma’a Nonu who has been ineffective this season.
Pride is all that is left for the ‘Canes to play for so it would seem that the best thing to do is to give some of the ‘fringe’ players a chance. Thomas Waldrom was a star for the Wellington Lions and should be given a chance at Number 8, and Piri Weepu showed enough skill last week to demand selection for the remaining games against the Brumbies and Crusaders. Also Tony Penn is another that has showed his worth in previous seasons and could by relied upon to deliver the goods again.
It’s time for Cooper to take some chances on youth, perhaps it could pay divdends next season and with this season over that is what he needs to think about.