Main content

Slow start not good enough: Elliott

Corey Rosser, NZ Correspondent NRL.com Sat, Mar 15, 2014 - 6:40 PM

In the wake of his side's second consecutive second-half collapse of 2014, Matt Elliott was struggling to find any positives in what he saw at Eden Park on Saturday night.

After leading 12-6 at the break, the Warriors continued their winless record at the ground, allowing the Dragons to cross for 25 unanswered points in the second term.

Much of the damage was done in a four-minute period to start the second stanza, where St George Illawarra crossed twice and crushed any confidence the home team may have gained from the first 40.

"There were some other minutes which hurt us as well to be honest with you – I didn't even think our first-half performance was where we had set ourselves to be," Elliott said bluntly.

"Our will to compete in the game at the moment could be questioned. I know we are a much better team than that.

"We have really worked hard from a fair distance out, believe it or not, on these first six games being a real key for us. Last week was a disappointment and I guess this one matches up."

After being dealt a 36-16 defeat by the Eels last week the Warriors still entered the match as favourites with most bookies.

Two losses to start the season is nothing new for the club which has historically struggled in the opening rounds, including failing to register a win until round four in 2013.

But Elliott said that simply wasn't good enough anymore.

"I don't want to use the 'Warriors are notoriously slow starters' [line] – that's just an excuse, that's not a reason for what we are doing."

A dejected captain Simon Mannering mirrored the thoughts of his coach, but said poor attacking options had played a role too.

"We probably didn't score as many points as we would have liked with that wind [in the first half]. But still, we were very positive coming out from half-time," he said.

"The Dragons scrambled really well. We created a lot of good opportunities I thought, but it seemed like that last pass wasn't there. But that's no excuse for letting in far too many points in the second half.

"Those first two sets [of the second half] just showed that we weren't willing to apply it, which was probably the most disappointing thing. I felt we were more in it than the first game, but we just didn't have that fight after half time."

The Kiwi international said signs had been positive at training, but that the time for those excuses was over.

"We have got to start measuring things with actions, not what we are going to say, but what we do. We are doing the right things at training, but just not applying them on the field.

"There are glimpses of it, but glimpses aren't good enough."

As well as bitter disappointment in his own side's performance, Elliott paid tribute to the Dragons, who held the Warriors scoreless for the final 53 minutes. 

"We had some opportunities in the second half but they scrambled really well and stopped some tries – I salute them for that."