Stat Attack: Defensive woes Warriors must reverse
The Warriors' shock thrashing from an under-strength Penrith team last weekend was the single-worst team effort of the season in terms of effective tackle percentage and reveals a worrying trend the club will need to reverse if they are to return to the winners' circle and claim a place in the top eight.
New Zealand are three wins clear of ninth-placed Canberra but if their two-game losing skid extends to three matches on Sunday against Brisbane, the Raiders and Wests Tigers could quickly narrow the gap.
According to NRL.com, the Warriors' 78.8% effective tackle rate against Penrith was the worst of any team in any game this year, with 62 missed tackles and 30 more ineffective (tackles that allow an offload). The next worst was 79.3% by the Titans against, coincidentally, the Warriors, back in round two.
Interestingly, the club's next six worst defensive tallies of the year (ranging from 80% effective up to 86.8%) have come in wins; their remaining nine games range from 86.9% up to 92.4% and include four wins and five losses.
However, there are a few worrying trends; offloads conceded have jumped in the second half of the season from 10.7 per game over the opening eight rounds to 16.2 in their past eight games despite missed tackles actually dropping slightly.
Their total defensive workload has climbed in the same period too, with the team averaging 375 tackles per game in round one to eight and 403 in the eight games since.
There were also nine try-saves made by the Warriors in the first five rounds and just two since.
Interestingly, one-on-one tackles per game have jumped from 10.3 per game in the first eight to 16.5 in the second block of eight.
An increase of just over one error and one penalty per game in their second block of eight games may be increasing the reliance on their defence in the wake of handing over more ball to their opposition.