Warriors battle confidence crisis
If the Warriors are to spring an upset on the Canberra Raiders this Sunday at Mount Smart Stadium, they will first have to start believing they can win again.
That, according to coach Stephen Kearney, is the biggest challenge facing the downtrodden New Zealand club after they suffered their fifth NRL Telstra Premiership defeat in a row last week.
"With the confidence being down with the group it's about making sure that I give them some confidence that there has been some positive progress in certain areas during the course of the year," Kearney said.
"Making sure that we go out and we work hard to try and achieve those little goals we set ourselves.
"The month previous to last weekend there was really good stuff, it's about not dismissing that, it's about saying 'there was some good stuff that we were doing'.
"It's about reassuring the group and making sure that we put that [Newcastle Knights] performance behind us, we are getting plenty of reminders about it, but we put that behind us and focus on what's important this weekend."
Last week's 26-10 loss to the last-placed Knights left Kearney to question the effort of some of his players, while it was the third consecutive match where the Warriors have failed to score more than two tries and the fifth in a row where they have leaked at least 24 points
With their finals hopes now over, prop Jacob Lillyman said the playing group are driven by a desire to repay their fans in a season where they have already suffered 13 defeats from 20 games.
"Last week was one where we sort of let ourselves down and let our fans down," Lillyman said.
"That was a tough one to go through on the weekend, the boys are certainly hurting and this week's game can't come quick enough.
"We had a few honest words spoken, Stephen gave his view on things and players put their hand up, so now it's about taking those lessons and rebounding this week against Canberra in front of our home fans."
The Warriors' recent record against the Raiders doesn't bode well for them, having lost their last three against the Green Machine, but at Mount Smart Stadium the Kiwi outfit have gone down to Canberra only twice since 2002.