Ivan Cleary
Ivan Cleary Hannah Johnston / Getty Images

Cleary proud of Panthers impressive win over NZ Warriors

AS TV viewers, we were saved numerous 'yes, yes, yes, yes, yes' exclamations from Phil Gould on Saturday night as his pink Panthers annihilated the NZ Warriors.

Despite Panthers coach Ivan Cleary appearing to be as excited as someone who had backed the opposition, this was one of the proudest moments in the 46-year history of the Penrith club.

Had the Warriors not scored in the closing minutes, the winning margin would have been the Panthers' biggest ever.

Conversely, it was the Warriors' worst loss.

And while the big win said much about the re-building phase at Penrith under the Gould-Cleary regime, it said more about the Warriors. They were - in a word - pitiful.

For a team representing an entire country, and with eight internationals in their line-up, to perform so poorly says much about the attitude of the players.

They have now won just two from 10 and had more points scored against them than any other team bar the basket case which is the Wests Tigers - but at least the Tigers can apportion part of their disastrous season to a clipboard full of injuries.

Without being too unkind, this season has been typical of the haphazard history of the Warriors.

In their eight losses, three have been by two points, one by eight points and one by 10.

Yet in those three other losses, they have conceded 110 points.

And this mirrors an 18-season history in which they have played in two grand finals, qualified for the finals seven times but finished well out of the running in the remainder.

And relative to their time in the NRL, the Warriors are far and away the most unstable club.

In 18 years they have had nine coaches. Three times they have sacked a coach mid-season.

No one doubts the ability of their playing staff, at senior or NYC level.

The Warriors have produced 54 internationals and five Kiwi Test captains.

And in the five years of the NYC, they have never finished out of the finals and have won the premiership twice.

Obvious to anyone who knows the game and watches the Warriors play, there is no shortage of talent at Mount Smart. But just as obvious is the question - why isn't this talent being developed?

Maybe the 2013 glitches - which became alarmingly obvious on Saturday night - were ignited long before pre-season training started.

When Matthew Elliott was appointed to replace Tony Iro, the caretaker coach who had taken over from sacked Brian McClennan two games before the end of the 2012 season, a number of players publically voiced their disapproval.

Could that discontent now be festering into resentment?

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