Teenage Warriors prop Isaiah Papalii in action in the Holden Cup in 2016.

Makeshift pack rolling for Warriors

As the Warriors look for silver linings from an otherwise gloomy finish to the 2017 season, their inexperienced forwards present as a point of difference ahead of Friday night's clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.


Despite being well beaten in a 36-16 defeat to the Canberra Raiders last Sunday, the Warriors powered through the middle of the park, averaging 49 metres on every set in Round 23.

Their total haul of 1814 metres was beaten only by the St George Illawarra Dragons last week, with Jacob Lillyman, Ben Matulino and Simon Mannering all running for over 100 metres individually.

For rookie big man Isaiah Papali'i, it has been heartening to get the job done without the presence of injured frontline props James Gavet and Albert Vete, as well as veteran back-rower Bodene Thompson.

"It definitely has given us some confidence to do it even without those guys, it shows the depth and strength we have at this club and that anyone is ready to go," Papali'i told NRL.com.

"The middles did a real good job of working it over in the middle last week and moving Canberra's big boys around.

"Hopefully we can do that against Souths and play some good flat football.

"I know I look forward to fronting up to them and the challenge they will present."

While South Sydney are without their best forward in the shape of captain Sam Burgess (ribs), they come off a fine showing against the representative-laden Canterbury Bulldogs' pack past week, where they averaged over 10 metres per carry.

Meanwhile Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said this week had been about focussing on the positives his side achieved against Canberra in Round 23, and demanding an improved attitude on the defensive front.

Despite being exposed badly off the ball, the Warriors finished the match having given away only four penalties, while also boasting an 84 per cent completion rate, an area which they lead the entire competition in right now.

"Last week there was some really good parts to it against the Raiders," Kearney said.

"We have worked all year at those key areas, the completion rate, we just had a bad run where we had four errors in a row and I think they scored three tries off the back of it.

"Defensively it's making sure that we have some resilience about our defensive performance this week and making sure that we are competing really hard in that area.

"That's the important part for me this week."