After another huge year on and off the field, the Warriors head to Saigon full of confidence following our 2015 Asian Champs grand final appearance, which was the first in our 24 year history. The introduction of the two-tier system in 2015 ensured a true war of attrition, and we expect this year’s champs to be no different.
With lessons learned from 2015, the Warriors coaching committee has stepped up preparations in 2016 to ensure we land in Saigon ready to contend for the cup. Our priority has been to ensure we arrive in better shape than last year and we will certainly deliver this from a fitness perspective. The boys have been working extremely hard outside of our official training sessions, and with a two-game series against Singapore and intra-club matches under our belt in recent weeks, we will be well and truly match hardened. We also take a much larger squad, in every sense of the word into this year’s champs with the playing squad of 35 complimented with some much needed added size across the board.
Keep an eye out for Anthony Di Candilo, weaving his magic from the backline, Jimmy Worland scrapping hard in the centre, and Paul “The Phone” Booth doing a heap of damage up forward. A special mention also to Warriors and AFL Asia legend, Ben “EGGSY” Simpson, who will play his 100th game for the club in our first pool game of the day – he’s a true champion on and off the field and we wish him all the best for his milestone game.
Much has been said about the Warriors road to the finals being the toughest of all the first division teams. Looking across all six division 1 teams, you can make a strong case for any of them to be lifting the cup at the end of the day, so there are certainly no easy paths to the finals. All teams know that the draw doesn’t mean a lot and that you will need to beat every team on the day if you want to win the big prize. Regardless of results, you can be assured that the Warriors will play hard all day and push every team to the final siren.
We wish all 18 teams competing in Saigon the best of luck. Play hard, stay healthy and have a great day!
A view from above: Never before has the old mantra “cramps loose champs” rang more true that Malaysia’s 2015 Grand Final defeat to Hong Kong. Expect to see the Malaysian boys not veer too far away from their water bottles and electrolytes in Saigon. While we haven’t seen too many #yearoftheWarrior hash tags being thrown around this year, there is no doubt the Warriors will be a serious challenger for the Division 1 Asian Champs title.