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Warriors players with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (centre).

Jordan Kahu.


‘They’ve been hard’: Warriors head coach eager to turn around abysmal performance

The Warriors were thumped in a record-breaking loss by the Gold Coast Titans last Saturday, but their coach is still confident things can be rectified.

“They’ve been hard. If they weren’t, I’d be in the wrong game,” says head coach Andrew Websterof the days following the Warriors’ embarrassing loss to the Titans over the weekend.

The Warriors went down to the Titans for the second time this season, getting thrashed 66 - 6 on the Gold Coast.

Webster says the result was something they “didn’t see coming after a strong week of preparation”.

“I think every player cares [and] every staff member, [so] it was hard to watch. Considering we didn’t see it coming off the back of training really well. I thought we were hitting form, obviously we didn’t beat Melbourne but I thought we’ve been physical this month.

“We certainly weren’t physical on the weekend, our tackling was poor and it was hard to see.”

The Titans broke 46 tackles and made 12 line breaks that gave them positive go forward on the attack. Webster says the team didn’t want to “get bored” of their defensive processes that have worked for them in the past.

“We physically spoke about we wanted to turn up, and not get bored of what we do defensively. We found a real good period the way we tackled, the way we were on the ground defensively.

“But that’s the bit [that] we looked flat and slow and lethargic, we’re not hiding behind it so obviously everyone saw it. Too many missed tackles, line breaks for tries, stuff that we gave to them.”

The Warriors last win came in their 42 - 10 thumping of the Cowboys in Townsville, which was their third win in a row. The winning streak was credited by fans and commentators alike to the energy and effort of young players who were injected into the squad.

Former Warriors and Leeds Rhinos great Willie Poching says the difficulty of dropping senior players is the trust they have built during such long careers.

Since their winning streak, the Warriors have welcomed back a number of their starting players including Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Tohu Harris but have found no success.

Poching says this is important when selecting the teams to play in the coming weeks.

“The senior players have earned their stripes through what they’ve done. Because of that, they’ve got credit - they’ve got a big element of trust which is why you play them ahead of others who haven’t earned that yet.

“But, when your performances aren’t marrying up to that trust, that’s when the coaches have got to start making decisions. And unfortunately, they’re at that point in time.

“Now, the younger players (who) are doing extremely well, they’ve got a bit of trust and that started with that Penrith game. They showed the resilience, steel, and energy to get the win done. And they did that three in a row, without the big guys!”

With nine rounds to go, the Warriors will need some big wins over the next month to support their run for the top eight. Poching says a positive direction needs to start this week in their game against the Broncos.

“It starts this week, my real concern of last week, the damage emotionally the loss would have done to them. And the scars it could leave, you carry that for a little while. When you’ve won or lost, you’ve got to move on quickly.

“When you’ve had a loss like that, it can hurt you and around the club. They’ve gotta show some confidence and some bounce back, don’t worry too far ahead. They’ve just gotta focus on getting everything right this week.”