Warriors out to get their mojo back
You know that feeling when you lose your car keys somewhere in the house just when you need them most?
You search through bags, pockets and behind the couch but they are nowhere to be found.
That's how Warriors coach Andrew McFadden is feeling as his side desperately tries to rediscover their mojo, which has been almost non-existent for over a month now.
"We have just got to find it again, it's not like it's not there, we just need to really simplify our game [and] focus on some key things," McFadden said ahead of this week's must-win clash against the Titans.
"It is frustrating, it is frustrating for me and frustrating for the players.
"It is part of the game, every team across the whole game you could say has had one of those performances [referring to last week's 46-12 loss to the Roosters].
"We just saved ours up for a really important game; it was the wrong time for us."
Prior to Round 19 the Warriors had the best attack in the NRL, averaging 22.6 points and conceding an average of 18.5.
In the five games since – discounting the 54-18 thrashing of the lowly Raiders – the New Zealanders have scored only 16.8 points and conceded 27.2 on average per match.
And now with just two wins from their past six games the club has gone from top-four contenders to top-eight outsiders.
"Our mindset is good, we know that we let ourselves down and we were very disappointed after the game [last week] but we know that we still have an opportunity; we are still alive in the competition," McFadden said.
"We had 19,000 disappointed fans last week and it is important that we finish with a bang and we really give them something to remember our season by."
Prop Suaia Matagi, now in his second year of NRL football, said the drop in form had been a learning curve for himself and the rest of the squad.
"For myself I have learned from that [the last few weeks]," Matagi said.
"We have worked on things all week and everything is under control now, it is a must-win so we are going to leave everything out on the park.
"Winning the ruck, first-up contact and getting our leg drive back have been focuses."
McFadden said the Warriors have been brutally honest in their approach to this week's game against the 13th-placed Titans, which included singling out the forward pack as a problem area.
"We are always very honest with our performance, that is what we have to do," McFadden said.
"We don't bury our heads in the sand we deal with the issues and then we move forward.
"We had to all take responsibility, me included, and that is something we will try to rectify.
"I think that is where it all starts [with the forward pack], your halves don't have much opportunity if you don't win that battle in the middle so I am definitely going to challenge our forwards this weekend.
While McFadden said that despite managing only 12 points and a sole line break in their first match together last week, Shaun Johnson and Thomas Leuluai would continue to be the halves pairing with Chad Townsend to stay with the club's NSW Cup side.
"We made that decision based on what we thought would be the best dynamic in the team [and] it was a tough call on Chad," he said.
"He has had a great season but we had to make that call for the benefit of the team."