Warriors brace for Knights pack
The Warriors are preparing this week to face some fired-up Newcastle Knights forwards, who are coming off a last-up performance where they steamrolled one of the Telstra Premiership's biggest packs.
The Knights' unheralded forward unit made an emphatic statement in last week's 24-24 draw with Canberra, helping their side to power through for 486 metres more than a Raiders side that boasts six current or former international forwards.
"They really rolled through Canberra last week, they have still got some experience in the forward pack with Jeremy Smith and I think they made (around) 500 metres more than Canberra, and Canberra has a pretty good pack," Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said.
"It all comes down to the physical contest and if we don't win that then their halves will have lots of opportunities; it's going to be a challenge."
Of the starting Newcastle forwards only hooker Danny Levi and back-rower Jacob Saifiti failed to run for more than 100 metres in Round 3, while off the bench both Pauli Pauli and Mickey Paea achieved the same milestone in yardage.
Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman said winning the battle up front would be crucial on Monday, but believed his side would be up to the task following back-to-back tests against representative-laden Broncos and Storm packs.
"It's always (won) through the middle of the field. We need to be dominating that area and giving Shaun (Johnson), Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) and Robbo (Jeff Robson) opportunities to take advantage of that," Lillyman said.
"It's a huge challenge every week, we are coming up against a Knights side who are going to be pretty desperate.
"They had a good draw, a really hard fought draw, last weekend and they will take a lot of confidence out of that.
"We have just got to be ready to weather the storm, but in saying that we are not too worried about them and are just trying to focus on our own backyard at the moment and get things in order."
Lillyman also endorsed rookie Jazz Tevaga as the right man to start in the No.9 jersey for the Knights clash, following a strong NRL debut last week.
"I am confident he is alright with it all, he is a good young kid and he is very tough," Lillyman said.
"He does all the right things at training and has a really good attitude. I guess I have a few little words of advice here and there for him but that's about it mate, he has got it pretty much covered young Jazz.
"I am sure he will back his debut up with another strong performance."