Warriors respond to loss of Price - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors respond to loss of Price

By Ben Horne 05/09/2010 05:14:16 PM Comments (0)

Warriors frontrower Sam Rapira faced a difficult challenge this season without mentor Steve Price alongside him, however the 23-year-old has taken it as an opportunity to mature into one of the NRL's best forward leaders.

Rapira admits he was daunted when Price's career was brought to a premature end by injury and knew he'd have to take charge of an inexperienced prop rotation.

But instead of worrying about how he might cope, Rapira saw it as his time to step out of Price's shadow and build his own reputation.

In past seasons the Warriors have relied heavily on inspirational figures like Price, Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki to lift the team into the finals, but the new approach is one of everyone banding together.

Rapira said it's been the support of young guns Russell Packer, Ben Matulino and the unheralded Jesse Royal which has helped him guide the Warriors pack into the finals and another promising era.

"I haven't felt any more pressure, the way Russell, and Benny and Jesse have carried themselves I think we're all doing the same job," Rapira told AAP.

"I was (worried about Price's retirement) but that's the nature of our game. It's a cruel thing but you can't dwell on it. A few boys got the chance to step up and I think they've done a good job.

"It was a great opportunity for me, but again the way the other boys are playing it's all of us, everyone's doing their bit and you can feel it on the field."

The Warriors travel to Gold Coast on Friday to take on the Titans after finishing fifth.

They'd much rather be opening their playoffs campaign in Auckland, but Ivan Cleary's team aren't the shaky outfit away from home that they once were.

While they still have the brilliant attack and unpredictability as part of their game, it's been toned down with an unprecedented level of patience and maturity which has helped them grind out tight matches.

Rapira said the Warriors are in a confident state of mind and travelling to Skilled Park won't be an issue.

"I think it's all in the head, you've just got to turn up on the day and I think the boys have been doing that well and I think it all starts in your training too. The boys are just playing for each other playing as a team and it's showing," he said.

"The boys are ready and looking forward to it. You know you don't get this chance very often, there's a few teams that haven't made it that probably wanted to but we've got the chance, so we've just got to take it with both hands and just go hard."

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