Purpose returns in Warriors win
His team piled on 28 points and restricted their opponents to just 10, but Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said the most pleasing part of Saturday night's victory over the Brisbane Broncos was the attitude displayed by his players.
After slumping to back-to-back defeats over the past fortnight, the Warriors ran out onto Mount Smart Stadium in Round 12 to a backdrop of public criticism and pressure, as they languished in 14th position on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder with just four wins from 11 matches.
But after suggesting some of his players weren't trying hard enough last week, while others were perhaps trying too hard, Kearney expressed relief at the desire shown by his charges in Auckland.
"They came out and had a real purpose about them and I thought had a real intent," Kearney said following the 28-10 win at Mount Smart Stadium.
"I thought they stuck to it for the most part, so I was really pleased for the group.
"We have had a couple of tough weeks off the back of the Penrith game and we probably lost our way in terms of concentration, in terms of what is important for us."
It was a marked improvement for the Kiwi side, who missed half as many tackles as they did against the St George Illawarra Dragons last week (57 compared to 23), while running for over 300 metres more than they managed against the 'Red V'.
Post-match Broncos coach Wayne Bennett admitted his side had been confronted by a different Warriors team than they had prepared for all week.
"If you watch the videos like we do, it was a different team tonight, totally different to what we have seen the last couple of weeks," Bennett said of the Kiwi side.
"I don't know why footy teams, and we are no different at times, we are all in the same boat, you have to get under a heap load of pressure before they start to play a bit of football.
"They are obviously under a fair bit of pressure right now and they turned up tonight and played really well, to their credit."
Meanwhile Kearney challenged his side to back the performance up on the road against the Parramatta Eels on Friday night, with the Warriors yet to register an away win in 2017.
"What you need to understand with this competition is it [the effort] needs to be like that every week, because there's just no let up," Kearney said.
"As soon as you take your eye off the ball, and it was a bit like that against the Dragons… you get a really good kick up the backside.
"It's about refocussing and getting back to the process I keep talking about and really nailing our jobs."