Warriors refocus for Roosters clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors refocus for Roosters clash

By Todd Balym and Xavier LaCanna 16/09/2008 06:24:44 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand Warriors coach Ivan Cleary pulled his senior players aside on Tuesday to ensure their minds were over the "dream" Melbourne win and onto Friday's NRL rivals the Sydney Roosters.

He needn't have bothered.

With respected veterans Steve Price, Ruben Wiki and Brent Tate among the team leaders there was no way they'd drop their focus heading into the sudden-death semi-final at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Warriors' 18-15 upset of Melbourne at Olympic Park last Sunday has thrown the premiership race on its head and Cleary said he called his men together at their first training session in Auckland on Tuesday to ensure focus was purely on the Roosters.

"We just had a meeting with a few of the senior guys then and everyone is saying all the right things and they were pretty calm," Cleary said.

"So let's hope that it stays that way.

"To finish (over Melbourne) like the way it did was a dream come true."

The Warriors have been rated favourites over the Roosters with most bookmakers for Friday's semi-final and Cleary admits his men are high in confidence after winning nine of their past 11 games.

"I just think individually everyone is on top of their game," Cleary said of the club's top form.

"You know each week we are getting everybody out there performing close to what they can do.

"If you do that then collectively there is a bit more belief and just the team goes better.

"I am confident that we can play well. If you do that you are a chance. It is obviously a really hard game. That is what you get at this time of year."

Skipper Steve Price said the Warriors had quickly refocused on the Roosters after silencing the Storm last week and would not change their preparations this week despite playing at home on a short turnaround.

"I think that would be the biggest mistake we could make is to go and change things that have been working for us," Price said.

"We have got a short week. We can't change that.

"We have got to where we have done because of our great preparation and everybody having input into the team I suppose as a whole.

"There is not one or two guys who are going to win us the game, it is going to take 17 guys and every individual has got to make sure they contribute as best they can."

The Warriors have been living on a knife's edge for the past month where one bad result could have ended their NRL season.

Price said the only thing that changes between this week and the past month is that their opposition now is also facing a do-or-die battle.

"It is only going to get more and more intense because now every team is playing for their future," he said.

"Whereas last week there were a few teams who knew they were going to survive, even if they lost.

"Now it is do or die for everyone."

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