Warriors looking to bring back smiles
Embarrassed and hurt following a 36-0 defeat to the Dragons last week, the Warriors have vowed to bring the fun back to footy as they cling to their finals hopes.
As if their fourth-straight defeat wasn't bad enough, the Kiwi side also lost key men Ben Matulino (suspension) and Manu Vatuvei (shoulder), in what was their heaviest loss since May 2013.
But coach Andrew McFadden said the key to turning it around on Saturday against the Panthers was making sure his players enjoyed being out there.
"I think having a smile on your face is first and foremost, because you have got to enjoy this," McFadden said.
"We have got the find a way to enjoy it, so we make some light-hearted moments in training, but we have still got to uphold those standards that we value so much.
"When you have these periods in a season when you lose four games in a row it's not easy on the players. I know it's not easy on the fans and everyone else, but it's certainly burning and hurting the players.
"It was huge disappointment after the [Dragons] game and a pretty sombre mood earlier in the week, because we know we let ourselves down.
"You can handle losing but we certainly let ourselves down there. We have got a lot of pride to play for now.
"We have worked really hard on eradicating those types of performances out of our repertoire, and it was a bit of a setback."
Following a month where the Warriors have averaged just 6.5 points per game – including being held scoreless twice – and conceded an average of 27.5, McFadden admitted his side was critically low on self-belief.
"We are lacking a bit of confidence, and are down on experience and a bit of class as well. We have got some pretty key players on the sidelines," he said.
"Certainly [we have] still got a chance to make the finals, but this week is our priority, backing up and getting a good performance.
"We just couldn't find that final killer punch [last week]. Sometimes that comes with confidence and we are obviously a team that is a little bit down on confidence.
"We are going to have to scrap it out, it's not going to come easy, we are going to have to tough one out."
Meanwhile second-rower Ryan Hoffman, who will make his return this week from a calf injury sustained in Origin III, said there was no cause for panic despite his side probably needing to win at least three of their final four games to make the top eight.
"In 2012 we lost five straight with Melbourne and managed to go on and win the grand final," Hoffman said.
"But it's where we are at, we can't control what has happened in the last five games because that's done and dusted.
"All we can focus on now is making sure we put in the performance against Penrith on the weekend that's going to give us the best chance of victory.
"I think we have been good in patches, and when you are playing in the NRL you can't be good in patches, you have to be good for 80 minutes."