Struggling Warriors target better start - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Struggling Warriors target better start

By Robert Lowe 29/05/2009 02:36:18 PM Comments (0)

The Warriors will search for a better start and stiffer defence as they try to revive their NRL fortunes on Sunday.

The Warriors host the Wests Tigers in Auckland after three consecutive losses and just one win in their past eight matches.

While the defeats they suffered earlier in the season were narrow - by just one point in two cases - and there was also a draw with Melbourne, they have been a distant second over the past fortnight.

After North Queensland ran out 34-12 victors at Mt Smart Stadium, Canberra followed up by 38-12 home win last weekend.

Lock Micheal Luck, standing in as skipper for prop Steve Price, who is on Queensland State of Origin duty, said a lift in confidence would be key to arresting the club's poor form.

"We've started the last few games not as we liked and for that reason your confidence takes a little hit," he said.

"We haven't dealt with it as well as we could have."

As for a defence that had started to leak points, Luck said it was a question of attitude.

"It comes down to wanting to hit the guy hard who's got the footy and wanting to win the tackle," he said.

"Everything in the game starts from that. If you can't defend well, you're not going to get the footy and that's what we've got to do this week".

Having started the season encouragingly with successive wins, the Warriors have now dropped to 11th spot, four points outside the top eight.

They trail the Tigers by one point and one place in the standings.

Coach Ivan Cleary has included two NRL debutants in his starting 13 in Kevin Locke, 20, on the wing and Aaron Heremaia, 26, at hooker.

Locke, who has been in excellent form at fullback for the Junior Warriors, will be up against compatriot Taniela Tuiaki, who already has scored nine tries this year.

Cleary confirmed that defence was an issue the Warriors had focused on in their build-up.

"It's clearly something that has let us down over the last couple of weeks," he said.

"There's some technical issues that we've addressed after last week. Nothing earth shattering.

"Sometimes as the season progresses you can fall off a little bit and the Raiders last week had the size to capitalise and that's what happened."

Cleary agreed the trend of the Warriors conceding early points was a concern.

"We've consistently started slowly and it's a bit of a worry," he said.

"If you continually do that, it just makes it hard. It's like starting a race with one of your legs tied. We've spoken about that a fair bit. I guess it's just a matter of going out and doing it."

The Tigers are also coming off three consecutive losses, but none has been by more than two points.

Like the Warriors, the Tigers have lost their skipper to Origin, with hooker Robbie Farah getting his first call-up for New South Wales.

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