‘Not where we want to be’ – Warriors enter big period across Tasman

Warriors coach Andrew Webster is urging his side to focus on themselves as they prepare for this weekend’s match against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. The side is coming off a 14-8 loss to the Knights in Newcastle, their third in a row.

“The boys are really motivated, they’re working hard,” Webster said.

“It’s not do or die. The big focus right now is ourselves and then the back end of the week focusing on the Roosters … we’re got to improve, we’re not where we want to be. It’s no secret.”

The Warriors sit 14th on the NRL ladder after three consecutive losses and a draw, with the microscope being put on a misfiring attack, despite leading the competition in all run and kick return metres. Things aren’t going to get much easier after this weekend either, as the team heads to Brisbane for a Magic Round showdown with defending premiers the Panthers.

Marcelo Montoya of the Warriors is tackled by Adam Elliott of the Knights during the NRL Round 9 match between the Newcastle Knights and the New Zealand Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts/www.photosport.nz) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

However, Webster said that things clicking was just a matter of effort.

“Sometimes you’re closer than you think … I keep telling the boys we have to make our own luck and not just expect it to happen.”

Webster said his squad was internalising the increased pressure on them after a breakout season in 2023.

“Were we going to go through a patch like this? I’d say so … I’m not on social media so it’s easier for me, it’s only on days like this that I have to deal with external pressure. The expectation we put on each other is the biggest burden … they desperately want to win for all of New Zealand and each other.”

Webster highlighted the Warriors’ discipline as an obvious issue, especially as they conceded 10 penalties in the Knights loss.

“You don’t need to be a genius (to see), we’re not giving ourselves the opportunities through our discipline. The boys are keen to get line speed but they’re not checking with the ref and getting fatigued. We’re trying the swing punches at the end of the game and we’re clunky and slow. The attack’s not as beautiful as we’d like.”

The solution?

“Drop the shoulders, calm down and take a breath. Enjoy what we’re doing a bit more … rather than overheating mentally and trying too hard.”

Webster has named a mostly unchanged side for the weekend. Kurt Capewell is missing, this time with a calf injury for up to four weeks, so Mitchell Barnett moves to the second row and Bunty Afoa starts at prop. Jazz Tevaga moves back onto the extended bench, while Freddy Lussick is available for selection after serving his suspension from an incident in a NSW Cup match against the Rabbitohs.

The Warriors face a tough challenge this Sunday in Sydney against the sixth placed Roosters, who have won three out of their last four games. The Warriors haven’t beaten the Roosters since 2018, with the last meeting ending in a 14-0 blanking at Mt Smart last season.

Roosters v Warriors

Kick-off: 4pm Sunday 11 May

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Live updates on RNZ Sport

Warriors (five to be omitted): 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Jackson Ford 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Tom Ale 16. Jazz Tevaga 17. Adam Pompey 18. Jacob Laban 20. Taine Tuaupiki 21. Zyon Maiu’u 22. Edward Kosi 23. Freddy Lussick

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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