After thinking his NRL career had come to a premature end, Dragons halfback Michael Witt is relishing the chance to come up against his former club five years after leading them on an unlikely finals charge.
The Warriors were the NRL’s fairytale team in 2008 as Witt helped steer them from an eighth-placed finish to just one game short of the grand final.
Despite Witt being the Warriors’ leading points-scorer that year, coach Ivan Cleary told him before the 2009 season that he was surplus to requirements.
He insists he bears no animosity towards his former club but admits the chance to come up against the side that cut him loose is one he never expected to get while plying his trade in the English Super League.
‘‘I’ve always said that coming back to the NRL was never really on my radar, so it’s not something I thought about doing,’’ Witt said.
‘‘When I was there, Ivan Cleary was the coach. He’s gone now – there’s been a big turnover of players there and big turnover of staff.
‘‘It’s just the way professional rugby league is now. Business decisions are made and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.
‘‘I’m stoked to be back here now and I’m loving it here at the Dragons, so I’m happy.’’
Witt said today’s Warriors closely resembled the enigmatic outfit he left in 2009.
Remarkably, Witt was a member of the last Warriors side to beat the Dragons after he booted a perfect eight from eight in a 44-16 hiding back in 2007.
‘‘From when I was there to now, they’ve always played the same brand of footy,’’ he said.
‘‘They definitely like to attack and they’ve got some big Kiwi boys there, so their game hasn’t changed a hell of a lot.
‘‘You’ve just got to plan for the best Warriors to turn up because on their day they’re a really difficult team to play against.
‘‘They fire a lot of shots at you in attack but I think they’ll give us some chances when we’re attacking them.’’
The Dragons have now won nine straight games against the Warriors since Witt got one over his current club, but he said he wasn’t buying into talk of hoodoos.
‘‘We certainly didn’t look into hoodoos last week [against Melbourne], so we won’t be doing anything different this week.
‘‘We’ve prepared for them once this year and got the job done so hopefully we can stick to same game plan and it’ll work again.’’