Warriors pay price for mental lapses
The Warriors got a timely reminder of the mental toughness needed to knock over the top teams in the NRL when they let slip a stunning start to fall 28-22 to the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Coming on the back of a 48-0 drubbing of the Eels in Round 18, the Warriors used the emotion surrounding Rise For Alex Round and the minute's silence for victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 tragedy to shoot out of the blocks and catch the Broncos napping.
They surged to a 12-0 lead after just nine minutes courtesy of soft tries to captain Simon Mannering and Sam Tomkins that brought back memories of last year's 56-18 hiding at the same venue but that intensity soon dropped away.
After 13 minutes of the game the Warriors had commanded an astonishing 84 per cent of possession but when that imbalance began to correct itself coach Andrew McFadden and Mannering both conceded the side didn't show the fortitude needed to keep the Broncos at bay.
Brisbane struck quickly when they finally got their hands on the ball courtesy of a try to Ben Hannant in the 15th minute and when Ben Hunt and Jordan Kahu crossed in the space of six minutes the home side had an unlikely 16-12 lead at the break.
Ahead of a blockbuster meeting with the Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium next Sunday, McFadden said that his side will learn a valuable lesson of the type of application needed in the big games at the end of the season.
"The start of the game probably happened too easy for us and when the opposition got some momentum they just rolled through us and we didn't put up much resistance so that was pretty disappointing," McFadden said.
"We talked about that at half-time, that we needed to shift our mindset a bit and the detail in our game that's been good wasn't there in the first half.
"I thought we worked a bit harder in the second half but the opposition were pretty desperate for those two points.
"We've been pretty good for the last couple of months so we're not going to panic or anything like that. We've had periods of games where we've been under pressure and handled it; we just didn't have the right mindset for it tonight.
"We got off to a good start... I think we thought it was going to roll like it did last week so when the opposition pressed back tonight we weren't on."
An inability to withstand sustained periods of pressure has been a criticism of the Warriors for much of their existence and captain Mannering said that it remains an area of concern despite their recent charge into the top eight.
"We probably didn't handle it too well," Mannering said of the shift in momentum midway through the first half that saw the visitors go into half-time having had 52 per cent of possession.
"Obviously starting very good and things we practised were working and as soon as we had a bit of pressure on ourselves we didn't handle it very well.
"That seems to be one of our weak points, falling in and out of games and it's something we have to get sorted very soon.
"It's easy to be on your game when you've got the momentum and everything's going your way but when it starts going against you and it starts to get a bit tougher that's when you need to get those little things right and that's the areas we dropped off."
Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell will be monitored during the week after leaving the field with concussion midway through the second half and may come under review by the match review committee after he was placed on report for making high contact with his shoulder.