Ugly wins get Warriors back on track
They might have been tough for the fans to watch, but Warriors prop Ben Matulino says 'ugly' victories in the club's last two games will do wonders for team confidence.
It took some individual brilliance and almost every second of the 80 minutes to secure a 20-16 victory over the Sharks in round nine, while a week later the Warriors required a Bodene Thompson try in golden point to beat the Eels 17-13.
But those performances – coupled with last week's bye round rest – have the Kiwi side brimming with confidence heading into the second half of the Telstra Premiership season.
"I think as a team we can get a lot of confidence out of the last two games we won, and I know our defence has been really good at keeping teams to low points," Matulino told NRL.com.
"The ugly wins are the ones that you get a lot more confidence out of.
"I know in the past we have won by 50 and gone into the next week and tried to do the same stuff; it just doesn't work.
"Grinding wins and getting results is good for you."
Utility back Tuimoala Lolohea – who after playing the last seven games at fullback will shift to right centre for the clash with the Knights on Sunday afternoon – said losses in those last two encounters could have derailed the Warriors' entire campaign.
"It was a big two weeks for us heading into the bye, if you look at it that it could have broken our season, but now we have six points from three weeks," 20-year-old Lolohea said.
"Against Cronulla we had to grind it out and wait for a special play from Hoffy [Ryan Hoffman] and Shaun [Johnson], and against Parramatta those four or so minutes in golden point were really gritty.
"It will do a lot for our confidence.
"In both games we had to really stick together as a team and trust each other to get the job done."
Meanwhile Matulino said Sunday's clash against Newcastle was about more than just the two points, with the club desperate to protect Mt Smart Stadium's fortress tag after losing two of their four games at the venue so far in 2015.
Over the past five seasons the Warriors have won less than 50 per cent of their games at home only once (2012 with a 41 per cent home winning record), while last year they picked up the two points 66 per cent of the time they were hosts.
"We haven't been here [Mt Smart Stadium] in four weeks, which is a fair time away from our home stadium," Matulino said.
"I guess Mt Smart is like any stadium and you want to try and make it a fortress, I know speaking to players in the Kiwi camps that Aussie teams don't like coming here because of our passionate fans and all that.
"We have to try and win this week to maintain it.
"But Newcastle have guys like Leilua, Uate and Gagai who are in good form and can change the game instantly.
"We have to show up this weekend and not let their past results get in our way.
"When we played them in Round 1 I felt like they got over the top of us.
"It's a kind of revenge, getting out there and doing the job, we need to show up this weekend."