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Warriors on the hunt for home final

By Nicky Park 11/08/2010 04:10:35 PM Comments (0)

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has shrugged off harsh words from across the Tasman, saying he isn't surprised his on-form side continue to cop flack from their Aussie NRL rivals.

While the Warriors came away with a convincing 37-10 win against Cronulla last Saturday, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and captain Paul Gallan said the New Zealand side weren't serious finals contenders.

But Cleary said the Warriors had obviously "played well enough" to beat the Sharks who are wallowing at the bottom of the table.

"I think Cronulla have probably got their own problems, those comments, they might just be a reaction to how they're feeling," Cleary said.

"We went there to do a job, to beat one team and that was Cronulla and we did."

Rookie winger Bill Tupou played a pivotal role in securing last week's win, bagging a hat-trick - his first tries in the top grade.

"I just got lucky, I just did my thing and got over the white line," the young gun said.

Heading in to this Sunday's home game against Newcastle, the 21-year-old is keen to thrive off the pressure to perform and get a couple more tries under his belt.

"There's heaps of pressure, everyone wants me to play how I played last week, hopefully I can bring that out against the Knights," said Tupou.

Newcastle are hungry for their third win on the trot to keep their own finals hopes alive, while the Warriors are seeking the two points to secure their place in the top eight.

Warriors centre Brent Tate said it would be a huge boost to the Kiwi side if they could break into the top four and force their Aussie rivals to fly across the Tasman come finals time.

"We've got a pretty good record here at home and plus I think it would be a huge advantage for us personally and for teams having to travel here, obviously it would make it really difficult," Tate said.

"I know a lot of the Aussie-based players hate coming over here when it's wet and cold and miserable, they hate those sort of conditions and we're used to it, I think we play pretty well in those sort of conditions."

A successful season would be an "awesome" ending for Tate, who's wrapping up his time with the Warriors at the end of the season to saddle up with North Queensland in 2011.

"I'd love nothing more to finish on a high note here and I think the club it deserves to have some success," the injury-prone player said.

Cleary, who's named an unchanged line-up for this week's clash, is sticking to the cliche - "it's just one game at a time" - but admits he'd "love" a final at Mt Smart.

"I think everybody knows the carrot's there if you can put some games together there's some good rewards at the end of it."

"There's a lot of hard work to be done, but it's a nice incentive."

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