Warriors may be NRL finals force: Cleary - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors may be NRL finals force: Cleary

By Steve Jancetic 22/08/2010 02:28:13 PM Comments (0)

His team may have lost, but Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said he saw enough in his side's performance against Manly to suggest his side could be an NRL finals force.

Now all they have to do is get there.

The 19-16 defeat to the Sea Eagles on Saturday night made that task all the more difficult, with the men from across the Tasman still needing one more win to confirm a top-eight finish.

They won't get any leg-up in their pursuit either, with their last two games against fellow finals contenders Brisbane and Parramatta.

But should they get through those battles, Cleary said he believed his side was ready for the finals war.

"I think we came out of the game with a bit of confidence that we could play well and certainly compete in these big games coming up," Cleary said.

"A big penalty count against us, too many errors in our own half and still there's nothing in the game against a team that had everything to play for and know how to play tough, tight games.

"I'm pretty happy."

Cleary will also no doubt be happy if Broncos skipper Darren Lockyer fails to receiver from a rib cartilage complaint in time for Friday night's clash at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Broncos have struggled without their leader, but Lockyer or not, Warriors fullback Lance Hohaia said the club could be happy that they still had their fate in their own hands.

"That's probably the best way to look at it - we've got an opportunity to solidify our finals berth - it's not guaranteed at this stage," Hohaia said.

"I know all the boys are going to get themselves up for Friday night."

Manly coach Des Hasler was also looking to next week with his side facing an epic battle against the Sydney Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium.

That clash could decide which of those two teams secures a home final, while there is also the very real prospect that could meet again in the first week of the finals.

After a purple patch of form, the Roosters have lost two games on the trot heading into Monday night's game against Gold Coast to put a top four finish in doubt.

While satisfied with the effort against the Warriors on Saturday night - which allowed Manly to leapfrog the warriors and Roosters into fifth spot - Hasler said his side would need to produce more against the Roosters.

"We have to and we know we can," Hasler said.

"That's why it will be easy to identify all the problems and what we didn't do right (against the Warriors).

"We'll build on that."

While backrower Shane Rodney (knee) and Anthony Watmough (ankle) are in doubt to face the Roosters, Hasler revealed fullback options Will Hopoate, Ben Farrar and prop Josh Perry could all make a return.

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