Warriors eye attacking improvements
Ahead of facing the NRL Telstra Premiership's best defence on Friday night, the Warriors know their execution on the ball will need to improve drastically if they are a chance of downing the Cronulla Sharks.
Without their attacking leader in Shaun Johnson, the Warriors fumbled their way through last-tackle plays in Saturday's 24-12 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys, getting over the line only twice despite having an even share of possession and a 78 per cent completion rate.
The job won't get easier this week, with the Sharks leaking only 15.7 points per game on average this year to top the competition in that category heading into Round 21.
"We looked at the effort that was there, but execution was the biggest problem for us against the Cowboys," Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said.
"The biggest one we have focussed on is being clear on our role and having that connection.
"I think a lot of errors that came from the Cowboys game was just players not clear on what plays we were on and where we are supposed to be."
Prior to the loss against North Queensland, attack hasn't been a major issue for the Warriors in 2017.
They average 19.5 points across the season, while they had gone six games in a row scoring at least 20 points prior to last week.
For halfback Mason Lino, who played his first NRL match in almost two years in Townsville, and just the fourth of his career, the review tape made for tough viewing.
"If you look at it, if we had just executed a few key plays in key moments, we could have been on the right end of the scoreboard," Lino told NRL.com.
"I think it's a bit of everything, when you are in a game and you see an opportunity down the short side and you take it late in a tackle count, if it doesn't turn out right it puts pressure on the kicker on last play.
"But I also have to be better and execute those kicks better. I have worked on that this week."
Meanwhile coach Stephen Kearney acknowledged his side's shortcomings inside attacking territory, but said it had more to do with their work prior to last tackle than it did his halves not getting the job done.
"I don't think in terms of the ruck, that our forwards did a good enough job of setting up for last play," Kearney said.
"We spoke about that this week, making sure we finish off our sets a bit more effectively."
The Warriors have stuck with the same 17 from last week, but Kearney admitted on Wednesday that he is yet to decide on the final look of his bench, with Jazz Tevaga or rookies Isaiah Papali'i and James Bell a chance of coming in for Tevita Satae.