Attacking Warriors look to defence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Attacking Warriors look to defence

Robert Lowe 30/07/2011 10:52:19 AM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Warriors have kept the scorekeepers busy since coming back from their last bye of the NRL season three weeks ago.

They have topped 100 points in a three-match winning streak, grabbing 19 tries along the way.

While their attack has humming along, with the competition's too offloader, Feleti Mateo, a major catalyst, coach Ivan Cleary has put the spotlight on defence ahead of Canberra's visit on Sunday.

Cleary was pleased to see the Warriors touched down nine times on the way to a 48-16 victory over South Sydney last Sunday, but felt the defensive effort dropped a notch.

"Overall, it was probably a bit looser than the last couple of games," he said.

"We'll be looking to tighten up our defence this week. I think it needs to improve."

Against the Rabbitohs, the Warriors raced out to a 24-0 lead at almost a point a minute, only to concede three tries over the middle period of the match, before kicking away at the end.

Prop Jacob Lillyman agreed that the Warriors would have to be more stingy on defence against the Raiders, who are backing up from notable upset of defending champions St George Illawarra on Monday night, getting home with a last-gasp try.

"I think intensity in defence waned a bit and there were lapses in concentration," he said.

"Our attack is pretty much where we want it to be, but it's just little things in defence. If we fix them, we'll go a long way to getting the two points."

Lillyman is part of a propping quartet whose go-forward has been a key part of the Warriors' winning run.

He cited the return of Kiwi Sam Rapira early last month after two months out with a thumb injury as a big factor.

"There's a lot of competition between us and we keep raising the bar every week," he said.

"Sammy being back has helped the dynamic. It's just the challenge of wanting to play up to the standard of the rest of the boys."

With six matches to go, the Warriors sit sixth on the table,their spot in the top eight cushioned by a four-point margin back to ninth-placed Penrith.

But they are also four points outside of the top-four, although Lillyman had confidence in the club's ability to make up that margin.

"I know I do personally," he said.

"We've laid a good foundation. Although the top teams are still a few points out in front, if things go our way and we keep winning, we're more than a chance getting in there. It's certainly a big incentive."

Canberra, who have blown hot and cold this season, are back in 13th position, six points out of the top eight but still clinging to hopes of playoff football.

If they win their last six matches, they will end up on 28 points, which was good enough to make the cut last year, but not the two years before that.

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