Afoa: We were embarrassing
In the wake of the 30-14 defeat at the hands of the St George Illawarra Dragons on Friday night, Warriors lock Bunty Afoa has labelled his side's performance as "embarrassing".
Bar the first 20 minutes of the encounter at FMG Stadium in Hamilton, the Warriors proved no match for the Dragons, missing a colossal 57 tackles on the way to their seventh loss in 11 games this season.
"We didn't man up, that was it, we lost the contact [battle], they rolled down too easily and we paid for it," Afoa told NRL.com.
"It is embarrassing for us to go out like that. Everyone is a bit embarrassed and upset about the loss.
"We know in ourselves we are a more physical side than that, and we went out there and we lost it for ourselves.
"The first 20 minutes we won the middle battle, but at the end of the day it's an 80-minute game not 20."
Coach Stephen Kearney echoed those thoughts post-match, pointing to several flow-on effects from his side's limp tacking effort.
"I thought apart from the first 20-25 minutes tonight we were just physically beaten, whether it was at the tackle or whether it was us carrying the footy," Kearney said.
"That's where it all started.
"If you are getting beaten physically then when you are defending that's what's going to happen, and subsequently I thought with the missed tackles come the offloads which creates [more] missed tackles.
"We need to have a real good look at ourselves."
In addition to the ugly defensive statistics, the Warriors failed to contain the St George Illawarra forwards when they got moving, allowing them to run for just under 2000 metres and get away 20 offloads.
The issues in the middle of the park will likely cause Kearney plenty of headaches this week, ahead of hosting his former club the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night, a team who currently run for more metres than any other team in the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Afoa said it was vital that his side address their shortcomings and move on swiftly.
"We have just got to be straight up with it in the review, get to the point, we missed tackles, we have got to make sure we are tighter in the ruck," Afoa said.
"We can soak in that tonight, but when it comes to [Saturday] we have to put it behind us and focus on the week ahead of us.
"It's a long season, we have to take those losses and learn from it."