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They haven’t rated in any serious title discussions but veteran centre Brent Tate believes the Warriors are as good a chance of hoisting the trophy as any of the premiership favourites – provided they make the top eight in the first place.<br><br>The Warriors, who find themselves clinging precariously to a finals berth in eighth spot, face a huge test this Sunday against a desperate Newcastle outfit that must also win to keep their slim finals hopes alive.<br><br>But Tate knows that victory would go a long way towards cementing their place come September and warned that his side has the ability to cause plenty of headaches once the business end of the season begins.<br><br>“I think any team can [win the comp] to be honest,” Tate said. “It is easily the most open competition I have seen in many, many years.<br><br>“I don’t think there is any one side that is sticking their hand up as the clear favourites at the moment so yeah, I think we can give it a real shake.<br><br>“I know it’s a cliché but I firmly believe that to be the case. The key for every team is to time their run going into the finals and if we make the eight we’ll be as good a chance as anyone.”<br><br>The Warriors have played in fits and starts this season – at times looking more likely for the wooden spoon than the premiership trophy but more recently starting to show the form that many suspected they were capable of.<br><br>Last week’s 37-10 thrashing of Cronulla was their sixth win from their past eight games and Tate, who leaves for North Queensland at the end of the year, said it was the burgeoning maturity of the side’s youngsters – the likes of Aaron Heremaia, Russell Packer, Lewis Brown, Ben Matulino and James Maloney – that had made all the difference.<br><br>“The last few years we’ve struggled through having those young blokes coming up – they’ve been up and down – but I think they’re really starting to find their niche,” he said. <br><br>“I think they’re starting to become pretty confident in what they’re doing and you can see that now from week to week – we’re giving ourselves a chance in every game we play. <br><br>“Even though we lost against Souths and the Gold Coast (in Round 20 and 21), both games could have gone either way and that’s why it was so hard for me to make the decision to leave at the end of the year.<br><br>“I think the club is heading in the right direction and it would have been nice to have been a part of that, but things didn’t work out that way.”<br><br>Tate said he was determined to leave the club on a high over the remaining two months of the competition.<br><br>“That’s the goal,” he said. “It will be tough to leave the Warriors but I wanted to return to Queensland and start to prepare for life after footy.<br><br>“That was the thing that swayed me at the end of the day – the Cowboys were just the right fit for us.<br><br>“But I can’t say a bad thing about the Warriors. I’ve loved my time here and when I finish I’ll look back with fond memories.<br><br>“Hopefully there are a few more to come over the coming weeks too.”<br><br>Asked his thoughts on the Knights, Tate said “They’ve been awesome the last couple of weeks. I think they’ve turned the corner. <br><br>“They’re a bit like we were a couple of weeks back when we went on that run (of five consecutive wins). <br><br>“You get a bit of confidence up and the ball starts to bounce your way.<br><br>“If there is one area we’ve fallen down recently it’s been playing for 60 minutes rather than 80 so I think that’s what we need to do against Newcastle this week.”
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