Warriors expected to lift against Cowboys

As his team prepares to fight to keep their play-off dream alive on Saturday night, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has made it clear he won't accept a repeat of last week's limp effort which resulted in a 34-22 defeat to the Penrith Panthers.

After leaking three tries in the final 15 minutes to blow a lead and lose to Penrith in Auckland, the Warriors now sit four points outside the NRL Telstra Premiership top eight with seven games to go.

Kearney didn't hold back in his appraisal this week, calling for an instant fix against the in-form Cowboys, who have won three straight games and haven't lost at home since Round 9.

"I just didn't think that was acceptable [last week]," Kearney said.

"I was particularly disappointed with the finish to the game, in the last 12 or 14 minutes I just didn't like what I saw there, it's not what we have been working for over the last six or so weeks.

"I thought it was [individual lapses on defence], we have got responsibilities in place... we just missed the assignment. A couple of individuals. That was the disappointing part.

"We can't have that happen from week, to week, to week, so we made it pretty clear what our expectation is.

"In the toughest environment there is, when you do make mistakes you pay a pretty hefty price when you do."

‌As he approaches his 18th game in charge of the Warriors, Kearney moved quickly to shut down suggestions he could be growing tired of his side's inconsistent nature.

"No, no, it's my job, I love it," Kearney said.

"That's what consistency is, it's making sure that I make them aware of the situation and if there are areas and we do make mistakes it's bringing that to light, making them aware what our expectations are.

"It's the same when they do things well too, it's about highlighting them and what works for us.

"That's the reason why I will keep showing them, keep giving them the information, keep demanding that's what I expect of them.

"But absolutely not getting tired of it."

Meanwhile veteran rake Issac Luke laid down a challenge to his forwards ahead of meeting a North Queensland pack spearheaded by Jason Taumalolo.

Luke hoped his side would take some inspiration from the way in which they closed down another Kiwi enforcer, Martin Taupau, back in Round 17 when they met the Manly Sea Eagles in Perth.

"We know as a forward pack we haven't been there the last two games," Luke said.

"We are coming up against a strong pack, Jason Taumalolo is in there too… you have just to limit his metres. I think the week before the boys played Manly, Martin Taupau ran [210 metres] and against us he only ran [103 metres].

"So it's just limiting his time with the ball in hand and we are going to have to win a lot of the tackles to stop him.

"Probably just how we slow them in the ruck, [Penrith] managed to roll us pretty easy."