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Kearney out to avoid panic

His side has suffered back-to-back defeats where they have leaked 30 points or more, but Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said swinging the selection axe right now would have been the wrong thing to do.

After blowing a 22-point lead in a 36-28 loss to the Penrith Panthers in Round 10, the Warriors were thoroughly outplayed in a 30-14 defeat at the hands of the St George Illawarra Dragons last Friday, which saw them drop to 14th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.

Despite the disappointing performance, Kearney made only one unforced change to his line-up for Saturday's match against the Brisbane Broncos at Mount Smart Stadium, dropping Charlie Gubb in favour of Albert Vete.

"Not really [tempted to make more changes]... I take myself back to two performances ago and the five weeks previous to that, and the guys had done a pretty good job," Kearney said.

"We have made a couple of little subtle adjustments, we get Simon [Mannering] back this week and we made a couple of changes.

"The last thing I want to do is send panic through the organisation.

"I will look at [making more changes] after this weekend, but I trust that the group of players did a really good job for us for a month there and performed really well."

The Warriors get a significant boost for the Round 12 match against the Broncos, with Mannering returning from a two-match injury lay-off.

The 30-year-old workaholic lock is the Kiwi side's best defender, currently leading their tackle count with an average of 41.7 per game, while he has missed just 14 in nine appearances so far in 2017.

But Kearney was wary of making sure the squad didn't treat Mannering's return as a silver bullet.

"What I am very mindful of is that it's not for Simon to come back and fix the issues, we have got issues which individuals have to fix ourselves," he said.

"That has been a priority this week, everyone owning their performances over the last week and a bit and making sure that we move forward.

"Simon will help, but it's about everyone else making sure that they have got their games right.

"It's a matter of getting the mirror out, having a good look and saying 'OK, how do I fix this?'"

Meanwhile Vete, who is set to play his first NRL match since Round 3, said recent history suggested his side's defensive issues could be quickly overcome with the right attitude.

The Warriors missed 57 tackles in last week's loss, more than double their prior season average of 27.6.

"A couple of weeks ago the boys beat the Roosters, who were sitting near the top of the table, so that defensive effort is in us, we just have to fine-tune a few things," Vete told

"One week the boys are defending set after set on their line and then the following week we slip up.

"I think that speaks to the nature of the competition and how hard it is.

"It just goes to show that you can't do it one week and then just hope you'll do it again."


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