Kearney praises defensive effort

Sunday afternoon's 22-10 victory over the Parramatta Eels was the first time the Warriors have held a team to fewer than 22 points in 2017, marking a potential breakthrough in the club's quest for better defence.


After the first five rounds the Warriors possessed a defensive record which was closer to the NRL Telstra Premiership's worst than it was the best, having leaked 24 points on average prior to Round 6.

But post-match coach Stephen Kearney singled out his side's efforts off the ball as the highlight of the victory, which lifted the Warriors to six competition points with a three win, three loss record.

"I thought the defence set the boys up today," Kearney said.

"There were some really good moments [in defence], I thought our kick chase and defending Parramatta coming out of the back of the field was a real highlight.

"In the start of the second half I thought Parramatta in the first 15 minutes got a bit of momentum there, but I was pleased with the way the guys responded and sort of wrestled it back from them.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that if you want to win footy games you have got to be able to defend."

Of the 312 tackles the Warriors made on Sunday at Mount Smart Stadium one stood out in terms of its importance to the final result, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a producing a desperate late covering hit to deny Semi Radradra a try in the corner on 52 minutes.

At that stage in the game Parramatta were dominating possession and had momentum firmly on their side, but from that point on the Warriors appeared to find another gear and went on to seal the result with a Ken Maumalo try 10 minutes later.

Fusitu'a told NRL.com that he believed it was a turning point in the match.  

"It was a hard read, they had the overlap and as soon as Michael Jennings passed it I knew I just had to get on my bike and do my best to stop Radradra," Fusitu'a said.

"He is pretty much unstoppable from that distance, but credit to Roger as well who came from the middle of the field to help me out.

"At the time I was chasing him I didn't know Roger was coming from behind me as well, so I just tried to turn him away from the try-line and Roger did the rest.

"That was great that play, but overall they didn't get many chances to attack our line and that is a credit to the guys in the middle, they worked hard and it paid off in the end."

The Warriors will likely need to replicate that type of performance in defence if they are to get a result in Round 7, where they will meet a Canberra Raiders side who have scored more points than any team this year bar the St George Illawarra Dragons, clocking up an average of 27 per match.