Warriors won't sleep on Canberra's left
Ahead of meeting the most-lethal right edge in the NRL Telstra Premiership on Saturday night, the Warriors say they remain well aware of the danger which exists on the opposite side of the field for the Canberra Raiders as well.
After the Green Machine's right side of Jordan Rapana, Joseph Leilua and Elliott Whitehead tore the Gold Coast Titans apart in last week's 46-16 victory, scoring five of the Raiders' eight tries and making a combined 26 tackle breaks, it comes as little surprise that they have dominated much of the pre-match discussion.
But Warriors utility back Blake Ayshford, who will play his 150th career game in the Round 7 fixture at GIO Stadium, said Canberra's left combination of Josh Papalii, Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric weren't to be underestimated.
"Croker scored that many tries last year and he got around me a bit when we played down in Taranaki [last year]," Ayshford said.
"Hopefully I get to mark up against him pretty good on the weekend.
"I don't know too much about the winger [Cotric] except that he is big and powerful and real fast as well.
"We can't really focus on the other edge, we trust the boys over there to handle that and I am still sure [Canberra] will come down our side and test us a bit."
Down the left for the Raiders Papalii is averaging 151 run metres this year, while in his rookie season Cotric already has three tries and has run for over 100 metres on four occasions.
With the Raiders having scored more tries than any team in the competition heading into Round 7, at an average of 4.8 per game, the Warriors dedicated extra time after training mid-week to try and iron out kinks in their edge defence.
Veteran second-rower Ryan Hoffman said the key to containing Canberra, and the prolific right side in particular, was simple in theory.
"Tackle very, very well, because they are very good at breaking tackles," Hoffman said.
"They are big, they are fast, they are strong… but we have got a good defensive edge there with 'Sol' [Solomone Kata] and 'Foz' [Kieran Foran], so we just need to be committed in our tackles.
"If we go in sort of half-paced or half-hearted that is when they are going to start making line breaks."
With both the Raiders and Warriors sitting on a 3-3 record, Saturday night's clash presents the chance for either side to jump clear of the logjam of teams on six competition points.