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Flat-footed Warriors get bitten

Corey Rosser, NZ Correspondent NRL.com Sun, May 18, 2014 - 6:15 PM

Bulldogs prop James Graham crossed for a simple try against the Warriors at Waikato Stadium. Copyright: Shane Wenzlick.

The Warriors walked off Waikato Stadium on Sunday lamenting a slow start to the second half, which they believe cost them a victory over the ladder-leading Bulldogs.

After taking a 6-4 lead into the break, the Warriors conceded twice in the opening 12 minutes of the second period, leaking simple tries to James Graham and Greg Eastwood.

A spate of errors, started by a dropped pass from Ngani Laumape deep inside their own half, also saw the Warriors forced to defend multiple sets close to their line.

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In the end it was those repeated efforts which McFadden believed drained his side of the energy needed to produce a late comeback.

“We came up with simple errors in the second half which put us under pressure and we ended up tackling for 20 minutes straight,” McFadden said.

“When you have got no energy it makes it hard to put any pressure on the opposition.

“It is fair to say we got beaten by a fairly tough side tonight. We certainly didn’t make it easy on ourselves but the opposition need to take a bit of credit for the pressure they put us under.

“Against a good side you can’t give them easy opportunities, and we did that after half-time without putting any pressure on them.”

Despite the Doggies dominating the majority of the game, where they had 54 per cent of possession and spent a total of 45 minutes inside the opposition half, the New Zealand side were in the game right until the final minute.

Only a last-ditch tackle from Australian Test centre Josh Morris prevented Shaun Johnson from sending the game to golden point with three minutes left, and the Warriors finished the final 15 minutes as the better team.

That refusal to give up drew praise from captain Simon Mannering, who was one of the Warriors’ best, clocking up 40 tackles in an 80-minute effort.

“We were scrambling well and we did give ourselves a sniff after not having a lot of possession, so I guess that is a positive to take out of it,” Mannering said.

“At the end of the day we didn’t play well enough to beat a good side.

“We managed to create some opportunities when it counted and gave ourselves a chance, but at the end of the day we have to try not to put ourselves in those positions in the first place by giving them too much ball.”

McFadden insisted that his side’s latest loss, the sixth of their 2014 campaign, wouldn’t halt the momentum gained from earlier victories over the Storm and Raiders.

“I am really proud of our guys, because after the possession count early in that second half, we shouldn’t have been that close, but we still gave ourselves a chance to win the game," he said.

“It’s not going to take away the momentum, we are going to go back and train hard. The effort was there, you can’t question that.”

The Warriors now travel across to Cbus Super Stadium, where a clash with the wounded Titans awaits.