Kearney: The light is getting dimmer
After watching his side crash to their 12th defeat of the season on Friday night, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney all but conceded their play-off hopes are over.
A 26-12 home loss to the Cronulla Sharks was a significant blow to the Kiwi club's slim chances of playing past the regular season for the first time since 2011, and by the conclusion of Round 21 they could sit eight points outside of the top eight.
"Obviously the light is getting dimmer and dimmer, there's no doubt about that," Kearney said.
"There's no doubt we have got a bit of a lack of confidence at the minute, I have got no doubt that plays a part.
"A bit of anxiety, I thought some of the energy and effort was really well directed, but there was just times there we probably let ourselves down.
"Their two first tries, 12 points we pretty much gifted to them."
Discipline proved one of the Warriors major downfalls against the Sharks.
After giving away a penalty on their very first defensive play of the game, they compounded it with another on the next set, and minutes later the Sharks had scored a try off a glut of possession.
By the end of match they had 10 infringements to their name, which contributed to only 44 per cent of the total possession against Cronulla.
Winger David Fusitu'a, who was one the Warriors' best with 12 runs for 130 metres, cut a dejected figure after the match, but insisted there would be no change in his side's approach, regardless of where they sit in the ladder through the remaining five rounds.
"There is always a [play-offs] chance," Fusitu'a said.
"We are going to be playing like we can still make the finals. We are going to be on the training paddock improving our game, like there is something still to play for.
"I'm disappointed, you can tell that by everyone here… we will come out and try and be better next week. "
Meanwhile Kearney said he expected to have Sam Lisone available for selection next week, despite the 23-year-old prop being placed on report in the 60th minute for a raised knee which knocked Fa'amanu Brown out and ended his game.
Already without Ryan Hoffman, Albert Vete and James Gavet, the loss of Lisone would be a big blow for the Kiwi side's forward pack.
They are also expected to be without experienced back-rower Bodene Thompson, who suffered a suspected torn pectoral against the Sharks.
"He [Lisone] was in a running motion… in all honesty I didn't think there was a great deal in it. When you are running your knees do lift," Kearney said.
"[Brown] just got his head caught in the wrong spot. I am sure they will have a good look at it, I am pretty confidence he'll be OK.
"It seems a pec [for Thompson], which is pretty serious, I'll have to wait until we know exactly what it is.
"At the minute it looks like a tear of his pec, they are pretty serious injuries those ones."