Warriors quietly confident despite odds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors quietly confident despite odds

By Robert Lowe 11/09/2008 02:13:47 PM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Warriors might have history and most pundits against them, but centre Brent Tate says there's a quiet confidence heading into the NRL playoffs.

The Warriors travel across the Tasman on Friday for a must-win clash on Sunday with Melbourne, the defending champions and minor premiers for the third year in a row.

No team claiming the eighth and last finals berth have got past the first week since the McIntyre system was introduced a decade ago.

Tate knows how difficult the assignment against Melbourne will be, especially as only one side - Cronulla in March - have won at Olympic Park since the Warriors managed the feat in 2006.

"Not many people are giving us much of a chance of beating Melbourne," he said.

"But we'll be quietly confident and we'll go down there and go about our business."

Tate, who is his first campaign with the Warriors after seven seasons with Brisbane, knows all about September football.

He has been involved in the playoffs in all eight years of his first-grade career, winning a premiership ring in 2006 when the Broncos beat Melbourne in the grand final.

The Kangaroo and Queensland Origin representative believed the Warriors had the talent to match any side in the competition and said the final series would be "a whole new competition".

"We've got our destiny in our own hands," he said.

"It's a clean slate. It's finals footy and you never know what happens."

The Warriors are overwhelming underdogs to get past the Storm, with the TAB Sportsbet quoting them at $5.50 to win, the longest odds for any of the eight teams in action this weekend.

But Tate noted that club had overcome the odds before.

"We were probably written off halfway through the season," he said.

"We've shown a lot of character and gutsed our way into the eight. It's a huge achievement for the team with the season that we've had."

The Warriors didn't secure their playoff berth until the final round last weekend, when victory away to Parramatta completed a run of eight wins in 10 matches.

Tate said attitude would play a key part if the Warriors were to succeed against a dangerous Melbourne side containing line-break specialists like Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Israel Folau.

He said an accurate kicking game and enthusiasm in the kick-chase would be important elements.

"I don't think you can ever stop those sort of guys and it's probably a case of trying to limit their opportunities," he said.

"We can do that by our ball control and having a good kick-chase game and playing it down their end of the field."

Tate, 26, made his debut for the Warriors in March after eight months out following a knee reconstruction.

He has scored four tries for his new club, including a brace in the 28-6 win over the Eels last Saturday night, when he showed plenty of speed to chase down a Grant Rovelli kick for his second.

However, he didn't believed he had yet regained his pre-injury fleetness of foot and it would be something he would work on over the summer.

"To be honest, I don't think I've got it back completely," he said.

"It's just that zip that you miss. There are times in a game where I feel that's missing. It's just a matter of doing a bit of work in the off-season to get that back."

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