Friday, 20 May 2016

Konrad Conundrum

Written by Gareth Sykes

When it comes to Konileti "Konrad" Hurrell, supporters of the NZ Warriors rarely tend to agree on one another's personal opinion of the man. It's easy to find yourself scrolling through a Warriors Supporter Group/Page, stumble across a thread on Konrad and proceed to settle in for the next 10 or so minutes as you read through the inevitable shit storm that is unfolding in the comments section.

While everyone is so busy trying to ram their own personal opinion down the throat of anyone who cares to read, nobody at all seems to be willing to sit back and take on board a single thing that anyone else might have to say because it doesn't sit within their nice little comfort zone of personalised opinions that they've taken a lifetime to handcraft to tailor suit their own needs.

As i have watched the Konrad saga unfold before my very eyes over the last 5 seasons, with new chapters seemingly being added quicker than an Andrew McFadden haircut, I've noticed that there is a very clear divide amongst the fans with those ("Cheerleaders") who feel Cappy is out to get Hurrell and it's a travesty that he isn't the 1st name picked for 1st grade each week, those ("Haters") who feel he's had his chances and is now #Gonerad and as such should be moved on, some supporters ("Fence Sitters") hold out hope that Konnie can find that vintage form that had him earmarked as becoming one of the greatest attacking centres the game has seen and those, like myself (apparently i fall in the "Hater" group, i see it as calling it how it is), who would love nothing more than to see the lad ripping opposition defences to shreds (maybe leaving their jaws intact) but will not sugar coat an opinion while looking through rose tinted glasses and ignoring the tale we've all seen that goes from bad to worse.

It can be easy to forget that Konrad only played his 1st game of Rugby League in 2011 after switching from Union in 2010, just as it's easy to forget how he, quite simply, destroyed all those who came before him in the Toyota Cup comp where he crossed the chalk 22 times in 21 games. The problem with his switch in codes and jumping into what was already renowned as an attacking comp, it did nothing for Hurrell to improve on his defensive abilities and only aided his attacking arsenal, which was already impressive as it stood beforehand. Jumping into 1st grade the season after would have only increased the pressure to quickly learn the defensive aspects of the game, add to that the revolving door with coaches and the task at hand on a young bloke new to the game attempting to improve on his weaknesses seemingly become more difficult as the days go by.

With that being said, it is important to remember that the NZ Warriors are a professional organisation, they currently have 2 very successful businessmen steering the ship with a wealth of experience through all the coaching and support staff, so the chances for Konrad to rise above the turmoil going on around him was there and always has been, yet it seems that where there is an opportunity for an excuse to let the professionalism slip it's grasped with both hands.

While the off field dramas continue to rise for Hurrell it amazes me that people still seem to blame Cappy for everything negative that has been shone upon Konnie. Cappy cannot hold everybody in the teams hand and say "NO! You cannot get a blow job while driving, record it, send it to your mates and have it end up being splashed all over social media" or "NO! You cannot stay out until stupid am at a gig on the morning we fly out to Sydney for a game", or "NO! Please don't retweet shit about me moments after you've had an arse kicking for breaking team protocol AGAIN!". Before anyone get's all high and mighty and starts carrying on about a "player deserving to have a life as well" just stop! Yes, i get that but unfortunately for them they have decided to take a career path that requires them to forgo many of the luxuries we enjoy in life as we are growing up due to the nature of the competition that they are competing in. Preparation is one of the most important aspects of a game and when that preparation is poor then that reflects onto the field.

One last thing, please do not use the argument of "Konrad was in the best shape of his career in the pre season" because NEWS FLASH we are now heading into Round 11. Konrad does NOT deserve a position in the side purely based on what he may or may not be capable of or how he has performed in the past. He needs to fight tooth and nail to DEMAND he is selected in the first grade run on side. That is both with his performance ON the field and his performance OFF the field. The question that remains to be seen is whether or not Konrad has the ticker to go to that extra level and keep fighting harder and harder until he reaps his rewards or whether he shows a glimpse of what he is capable of and falls back into old habits. Will we see Konrad blow another kiss after scoring a try for the Warriors or will we watch him kiss his career goodbye?

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