Cleary keeps lid on Warriors build-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cleary keeps lid on Warriors build-up

01/03/2009 04:19:38 PM Comments (0)

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary isn't prone to grandiose statements about his NRL side.

So when he says: "I'm pretty happy with how it's gone", after his side made it three-from-three pre-season victories with a 34-12 win over Gold Coast in Lismore on Saturday night, it is as good as an ecstatic shout and a fist pump.

It was difficult not to get carried away after the Warriors scored seven tries to two to beat an under-strength Gold Coast Titans 34-12 at Lismore in northern NSW.

The victory sealed the Warriors' best pre-season in their 14-year history, after wins over Melbourne and North Queensland, as they eye Daniel Anderson's Parramatta Eels in round one of the NRL in Auckland on March 14.

Fullback Wade McKinnon, after his injury woes of last season, and new winger Denan Kemp each bagged two tries while another off-season buy, Joel Moon, formed a slick halves combination with Nathan Fien after returning star Stacey Jones missed the game to rest a minor calf strain.

"We got through nearly all the guys having a good amount of game time, so I guess we go into the season in pretty good nick," Cleary told NZPA.

Cleary's only minor concern heading into the Eels match is Jones' fitness, although his injury wasn't considered serious.

Having returned from a stint in France for his first NRL season since 2005, Jones showed he still had the goods against Melbourne and North Queensland.

"He's done really well. He's had a long time out and there was a lot of publicity around his comeback, and I was disappointed he couldn't progress a bit further (on Saturday night)," Cleary said.

"He's a good chance of playing (against the Eels), although his injury is still a bit unclear."

There were only minor injury concerns otherwise; a shoulder problem for winger Aidan Kirk, while former North Queensland forward Jacob Lillyman suffered a corked thigh in his first club match after pre-season injury worries.

The Warriors dominated up front and out wide, racing to a 30-0 lead with a six-try surge in the first 52 minutes.

Their oft-criticised kicking game was on song with four 40-20 kicks, two each to halfback Fien and five-eighth Moon. Three of those led directly to tries.

The Titans had their fair share of scoring opportunities, but lacked the ability to finish without skipper Scott Prince, who missed the match because of a long-standing family commitment.

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