Warriors learning to win ugly
After some tough lessons to start 2016, the current crop of Warriors believe they are finally adapting to get results from different situations in the NRL Telstra Premiership.
While there has never been any doubt about their ability when on top in a contest, there is a long-standing thought that the Kiwi side tend to fall away when faced with long periods adversity in games.
At times this season that has been proven to be true, but after finding a way to win in a tough and grinding encounter against the Roosters last week, the squad believe they are making progress in the area of winning even when it isn't pretty.
"It was certainly satisfying to get that Roosters result, and it's about finding different ways to win," Ayshford told NRL.com ahead of the Round 16 clash with the ladder-leading Cronulla Sharks.
"It's always good to get those ones where you know you have got it in the bag with 30 minutes to go, but the grinding ones are more satisfying and for us it's just about finding other ways to win.
"In previous weeks we skipped out to a big lead and then held on, but this one we had to win the arm wrestle for 60-odd minutes before we hit the lead, and then they came back at us and we had to hold on in the end.
"At one point there I thought we might win the game just from kicking penalty goals, so it certainly wasn't ideal and wasn't one for the highlight reel.
"But they are the ones that if you want to win the title you just have to hang in and hang in."
The Roosters frustrated the Warriors for much of the match last Sunday, restricting them to points from penalty goals only before Shaun Johnson finally broke through in the 64th minute, scoring the home side's only try of the night.
A spate of ruck penalties from the Roosters stalled much of the momentum the Warriors tried to generate via quick play the balls, while the Bondi outfit's aggressive goal-line defence meant they had to move away from their initial plan.
Coach Andrew McFadden said it was pleasing to see his side adapt as the game went on, and believed it would stand them in good stead for the meeting with Cronulla, who are shooting for their 11th victory in a row.
"We missed some opportunities at times and some of our execution wasn't great, but that happens and you just have to find another way, and we did," McFadden said.
"It shows us that we can adapt on the day… Sometimes games pan out certain ways, and we need to be able to adapt to that, and that's what we have been focussing on.
"I think that's important, every good team has to do that, so that was an important step for us, and leading into this game it gives us some confidence that we can do that.
"It's hard to be up every week and be on every week, but you have got to get close."
While they are enjoying a three-game winning streak on the field, the Warriors had some positive news off it this week as well, with the re-signing of impressive 21-year-old centre Solomone Kata through until the end of the 2019 season.