Warriors fear Manly running game
The first thing you expect the Warriors to feel when they see Daly Cherry-Evans missing from the Manly team list for this week's game is relief, but instead the Sea Eagles' makeshift No.7 has them sweating.
Last Thursday against the Rabbitohs Apisai Koroisau – who is filling in at halfback for the injured Cherry-Evans – ran for 136 metres from 11 carries of the ball and made three line breaks, the most of any player in Round 5.
He added a try to cap off a strong individual game, while halves partner Dylan Walker also racked up 114 metres, a line break and a try to ensure the pair command plenty of attention from the Kiwi side in the build-up to Saturday's clash at Mt Smart Stadium.
"Both 'Api' and Dylan Walker are very dangerous with the ball in hand and are very deceptive," Warriors halfback Jeff Robson told NRL.com.
"On watching their game last week I noticed they are two we are really going to have to watch closely this weekend.
"I thought they played quite well despite not being recognised halves as such, Souths are a quality football team and when Manly kicked into gear they played well and really put some pressure on.
"We are definitely going to have to defend well against them to come away with the win."
Warriors prop Albert Vete acknowledged the threat Manly's halves will bring, but believes focussing too much on them would be a mistake given they have running options scattered everywhere in their 17.
"They have got ball players all over the field with those halves and guys like Martin Taupau who is really starting to get settled," Vete told NRL.com.
"I think that will be a good test for us though. Most teams have that, either a half or a back-rower who can duck in like that and make ground in the middle.
"For us to have that test and learn what we are and aren’t doing right in that part of the game will be good."
Against South Sydney eight Manly players ran for over 100 metres, while as a team they made seven line breaks and forced 39 missed tackles from their opposition.
Meanwhile for the Warriors, this week also marks the start of a seven-week period where six of their games will be on home soil.
With 'away' fixtures against the Bulldogs and Panthers in Wellington and Christchurch scheduled in between home matches at Mt Smart Stadium, the Warriors will head across the Tasman just once between now and Round 14.
"I think this run of New Zealand games is a good opportunity to really build some confidence over the next few weeks, and to try and get some points next to our name after a bit of a slow start to the season," Robson added.