Warriors halves put focus on own game
The makeshift Warriors halves duo admit it's time to relax and focus on what they do well, following a below-par performance in last week's 24-10 loss to the Panthers.
With the heavy responsibility of trying to reverse the fortunes of their side and qualify for the finals at the same time, both Tuimoala Lolohea and Chad Townsend have for the most part failed to fire after Shaun Johnson suffered his season-ending injury in Round 20.
Since the pair teamed up in the halves the Warriors have managed to score an average of just nine points per game, while last week Lolohea and Townsend had a combined three errors without a single line break assist or try assist.
"It has probably been hard for Chad and myself, he has been pairing up with Shaun in the halves and Shaun is the more dominant half," Lolohea said mid-week.
"I think 'Chaddy' just has to go back to playing his game, when he was doing that he was playing outstanding footy and I guess he has been probably overthinking things too much.
"He has just got to play footy and do what he does best and I am sure he will be playing the best footy he can.
"It has been a long season so far, I was a bit off last week and I know where I fell off throughout the game."
In 2015 Lolohea has been used as a fullback, winger, centre and even interchange player by coach Andrew McFadden, before taking on the impossible task of replacing Johnson in the No.7 jersey.
Still not even 25 games into his Telstra Premiership career, the 20-year-old Holden Cup graduate said he was still finding his feet in the halves, but hoped to get more involved in running the ball in the final three games of the season.
"It is slowly starting to develop, it's not an easy position to slot into at this level," Lolohea said of his new role.
"I have been all over the show this year. The biggest challenge for me this year has been my defence, especially with slotting into the halves now.
"I know that a big part of my game is running the ball and I know that I haven't been accountable with myself in doing that, I have personally had a sit down and thought to myself that that is a big part of my game.
"I definitely need to do more running of the ball and taking the line on myself."
With a positional match-up awaiting against arguably the best player in the world right now in Johnathan Thurston, coach McFadden said it would be vital that his playmakers didn't get distracted by the presence of the superstar No.7.
"I guess that's the trap; not worry about Johnathan Thurston," McFadden said.
"The team has got to take care of Johnathan Thurston, they [Lolohea and Townsend] have just got to play their own game.
"They have had some real good patches of form this year and we just want to draw on that this week.
"He [Lolohea] has only played his third game now at half, he is getting better with every game, he will continue to get better.
"As he gets more ball he is going to get more confidence to take more on."