Why Kearney won't swing selection axe
Amid calls for mass changes to the Warriors' squad ahead of Sunday's match against the Canberra Raiders, coach Stephen Kearney has declared there aren't better options in the club's lower grades right now.
After his side copped a fifth consecutive NRL Telstra Premiership defeat last week, going down 26-10 to the last-placed Newcastle Knights, Kearney was critical in his analysis and accused some players of not putting in the required effort.
But this week he appeared to soften his stance and insisted those in the first-grade squad are the best men for the job currently.
"If I thought there were better options I'd certainly make those changes," Kearney said.
"As I have said all along, if I think there is an opportunity and someone can do a job which I think is going to be better this week, then I'll make necessary changes.
"There are a couple of lads who are lucky [to keep their spot].
"Why I was pretty annoyed after the match on Saturday is I just thought there were some individuals that I just didn't see the effort that was there previously."
Already this year the Warriors have used 30 players at NRL level, a figure trailing only the injury-ravaged Gold Coast Titans (32), and above the competition average of 27.4.
That has included handing first-grade debuts to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Isaiah Papali'i, Tevita Satae, James Bell and Erin Clark (who transferred to Canberra mid-season).
With the team already without their most influential player in Shaun Johnson due to a knee injury along with experienced back-rower Bodene Thompson (pectoral), Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman said he little sense in exposing further youngsters to a team currently down on confidence.
"There's a lot more that goes into it than just putting the broom through and making mass changes, especially bringing young guys in who aren't ready," Lillyman said.
"He (Kearney) has reacted in the way that he thinks is best for us to get a result this weekend.
"It can be [a risk] if you are bringing a young guy in before they are ready or just throwing a young guy in, that's not going to help their development.
"There's a lot of decisions the coach has to make."
Kearney has made a handful of changes for Round 23, demoting Kiwi international hooker Issac Luke to the bench in favour of Nathaniel Roache, and bringing veteran second-rower Ryan Hoffman back after an injury lay-off.
Jazz Tevaga, who started at lock last week, is listed among the reserves.