Has there been a bigger disappointment than Manly and the Warriors in the opening two rounds?
Yes they're just two of six teams without a win, and they haven't copped a hiding like Sydney Roosters, St George Ilawarra Dragons and Newcastle Knights have done, but the Warriors and the Sea Eagles were both considered preseason to be finals contenders and they've shown nothing in their opening games.
I tipped the Warriors in my preseason predictions to finish second in the minor premiership, with Manly fifth, but they're both a long way from fulfilling those ambitions.
The Warriors have been criticised for two weeks now, and they're now on a 10-match losing spin. They produced a horror show in the first 40 minutes of their first game against Wests Tigers, and no amount of improvement in the second half altered that impression. We needed to see a better effort against Brisbane in Round 2, and they tried hard, but they were the dumbest football side in the world.
I wanted to see Shaun Johnson playing more with ball in hand, taking the ball to the line, being a leader who inspires teammates to follow him; instead we saw him kicking on Tackle 3, while teammates dropped balls and made simple and fundamental defensive errors.
This game against the Storm back at Mt Smart is the making or sacking of coach Andrew McFadden. Play poor in their first game at home, and we'll see fan pressure which turns to media pressure which turns to people seeing they need change.
Warriors players must also be under pressure; there's a number of players McFadden's shown a lot of faith while guys like Konrad Hurrell haven't been picked.
I'd like to think the Warriors have SOMETHING. I tipped them for second on the ladder in my pre-season predictions; they've got Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Issac Luke, they've got all these great players. Now they have to have some brains, show us how good they are as a football side, and compete with some smarts.
For some reason they lift against the Storm and I've tipped a massive upset. The Warriors are at home with players playing for their future; if they don't have a dig this weekend, they will never dig ever.
McFadden isn't alone in being under pressure.
Manly appointed Trent Barrett having got rid of Geoff Toovey, a club legend last year; remember they made the finals under Toovs. And the Sea Eagles have been poor this season. Some people think they were better against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt on Monday, but I don't agree.
They got back in the contest through individual tries -- a freakish effort from Dylan Walker and a score from dummy-half - but their attacking football wasn't great.
Defensively they're really poor, too; I'm not liking how they're tackling, and that's a pretty important part of the game. I don't see them physically being able to tackle big sides, and they're certainly facing a big side this week in the Sharks.
I've also got lingering concerns about Dylan Walker at five-eight; his combination with Daly Cherry-Evans isn't working, and I still don't know how many points they've got in them. It's not working. I know Jamie Lyon doesn't want to play five-eight but for the good of the club he has to be there to provide playmaking composure.
I'm not sure the number of new players is too much of an issue, either. They bought extremely well, and Martin Tapau and Nate Myles are Test players, quality footballers.
I thought preseason they had the balance right with the forwards and dummy half. I didn't see too many deficiencies, and said "they'll be knocking on the door come September".
I think they're really struggling, and I think Cronulla will roll to a pretty easy win.