Wary Warriors remembering the Titans
The Warriors have been a better side than the Titans for almost every round of the 2014 season.
They score more points, let in fewer and heading into this weekend’s clash at Mount Smart Stadium have everything to play for, while the men from the Gold Coast have nothing to fight for but pride.
But it is that very fact which has the Warriors on edge as they approach the must-win clash on Sunday.
“They have nothing to lose so they will probably get some early ball out wide and get some offloads away,” said centre Dominique Peyroux who will run out against his former club for just his third NRL appearance of the season.
“They will probably throw [around] the ball... and they have some good talent there. We have to stay on our toes, get off our line and stay connected.”
In their past two meetings with sides ranked outside the top eight, the Warriors have conceded 15 offloads on average, struggling to deal with the free-flowing style that tends to accompany teams that have nothing to lose.
With two games to go the Titans can’t make the top eight or drop into the wooden spoon zone, and in Round 23 showed just how dangerous they can be when they pushed Manly all the way in a 15-12 loss.
Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell said the backline was expecting a busy day, with the Titans likely to go wide early and often.
“They are going to play footy, they are good at offloading and they have some speedsters outside so they will throw the ball around,” Hurrell said.
“We have to switch on both sides of the field for the full 80 minutes and hopefully we can shut them down.
“This is a do or die game and our last game at Mount Smart for 2014.
“We still feel like we are going to make the top eight, we need to win the last two games and see what happens from there.”
And while Hurrell’s job on the right will be challenging, it is nothing compared to what Peyroux will face on the left, marking up on one of the NRL’s fastest men in James Roberts.
“He is just one of those freaks who doesn’t need to train, he just has that talent and gift of speed,” Peyroux said.
“When just have to stay on our toes, especially when he comes back towards the middle.
“Against Manly he was like a hot knife through butter.
“It is a case of just closing the gap and staying on the toes because you just don’t know where he will go, he is quick off the mark and once he gets his speed up he is off and there is no way you will catch him.”
Meanwhile coach Andrew McFadden was pulling no punches in regards to the reasons behind dropping Feleti Mateo to the NSW Cup for the second time this season.
“It is based on form, it’s not based on last weekend’s results but over a period,” McFadden said.
“Feleti was the one that had to make way... it is part of what Feleti needs to work on.
“There is no doubting his ability but there are parts of the game that you need to be tough at and he has got to work on that.”