Tigers rue 14 minutes of madness
Wests Tigers hooker Dene Halatau said his squad urgently need to improve their ruck defence, after losing to the Warriors in a high-scoring encounter at Mt Smart Stadium.
Off the back of a dominant showing from the Warriors forward pack which ran for a combined 895 metres, the home team's little men caused plenty of headaches for the Tigers up the middle of the park.
In particular Shaun Johnson and Tuimoala Lolohea were impressive, harassing the defensive line with over 100 running metres and a try each.
The Warriors scored 20 unanswered points in a 14-minute stretch, taking full advantage of a Tigers' defensive line which was helpless to contain their roll.
"Their ruck speed got us in that period and they were able to run through us and score some tries," Halatau told NRL.com.
"They had a lot of ball, that didn't help our cause, they were getting quick play the balls and managed to score some points.
"It was a good effort from the boys but we let ourselves down with our ruck control."
Faced with a five-day turnaround from the Easter Monday victory over the Eels, Halatau said the team had touched down in Auckland feeling confident of spoiling the party for Manu Vatuvei in his 200th match.
Even after trailing 20-6 in the first period the feeling was that they had enough points in them to come back, which they very nearly did.
"I thought we were good up the other end when we got the ball, we managed to score some points of our own," Halatau added.
"As soon as we got to 20-18 behind I think we were confident we could perhaps steal it away from them.
"But they kicked away a bit further and we were at odds to try and win it from there.
"We came over here with a good week of preparation, and after a short turnaround everyone felt really good.
"We were hoping to disrupt Manu's celebrations."
Meanwhile coach Jason Taylor wasn't interested in making excuses for the loss post match, despite marginal calls on two Vatuvei tries going against his side.
"They were definitely 50-50 [calls] but that's what happens," Taylor said.
"It's going to happen, you have got to cop it on the chin and get on with the game.
"We weren't good enough tonight, we should have won the game, we got close enough. Forget the refs, there's going to be those calls every game.
"They [the Warriors] played some great footy tonight and we were beaten by a better side.
"We played against a team whose first half was really impressive, [but] in the second half we did some great stuff.
"We will talk about those areas as a team and will get better from tonight's game."