Warriors looking forward to finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors looking forward to finals

By David Long 28/08/2010 01:01:03 PM Comments (0)

With New Zealand securing a finals berth Warriors coach Ivan Cleary says their focus is now on making sure they put themselves in the best position they can for the NRL finals series.

The Warriors thrashed Brisbane 36-4 at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night and now they're playing for the chance of a home semi-final in a fortnight's time.

In their only home Friday night game of the year, the Warriors drew their biggest crowd - a passionate 21,617 - to watch them clinch a spot in the finals series for the sixth time since they joined the league in 1995.

They play Parramatta next week in the final round of the season and Cleary says their target is to finish as high up the table as they can.

"The teams up the top, they're there for a reason," Cleary said.

"Having said that, in any season and particularly this year, anyone can beat anyone.

"Our focus now is to make sure we get as high as we can and have a few things in our favour, one might be that we get a second bite.

"But the most important thing for us now is to play well next week and go in one or two (places) higher up and feeling good about how we're going."

Few gave the Warriors any chance of making the top eight at the start of the season, with a number of pundits predicting they'd be picking up the wooden spoon.

So for Cleary it was an emotional experience to guide his team into the finals.

"It's very satisfying," he said.

"We had a disappointing season last year, we didn't really talk about finals or anything.

"It was about playing well and building confidence again and we've been able to do that throughout the year.

"Now that hard work gives you an opportunity to play for the ultimate crown and that's nice to know.

"We are now in the top eight and we have to try to win it. That's obviously a long way off, but half the teams are gone and we're still there so obviously that's good."

There is one last shake of the dice for the Broncos next weekend.

They have to come away with a win at home to Canberra but to stand any chance they'll need to snap out of the form slump which has seen them suffer bad losses on their last three games.

If they fail, it will be the first time since 1991 that they've missed out on the finals.

But without Darren Lockyer, who's still out with a rib injury and Peter Wallace, who picked up a rib injury against the Warriors, it will be a hard task.

"This time of year it would be real handy to have Locky there," said Broncos coach Ivan Henjak.

"But he's not and we've got to go with what we've got at the moment and we can't be reliant on him.

"Everyone else has to step up and play the role they have to play in the footy team and at the moment that's not happening."

Henjak said there was little he could say to the players to lift them for the upcoming Raiders game and it was up to them to believe in their abilities.

"There's not much we can do, we've got to go back to work, keep things upbeat and positive," he said.

"We'll go back to training and train hard and that's where you get confidence from, you get confidence from your preparation.

"The only thing we can do is keep ploughing forward, you can't put the white flag up, so that's what we'll do.

"You can't say anything unless they've got a desire to do better."

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