Green confident of no late-season Warriors slide
Blake Green has plied his trade in the NRL long enough to know teams grow more from tough losses than they do after runaway wins.
The returning five-eighth is convinced that will be the case for the Warriors attempting to extend their golden run against the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday by quickly rebounding from last week’s 12-6 loss to the visiting Melbourne Storm.
Unfortunately a rib injury forced Green to watch the arm-wrestle against his former club from the Mt Smart Stadium stands. But he was heartened by the fight shown in the six-point loss to the reigning premiers after being part of the Warriors’ 50-10 humiliation at AMMI Park earlier in the season.
The Warriors were eager to accentuate the positives after training on Thursday and Green is convinced the Kiwi outfit will only be stronger for their gritty, albeit error-ridded performance.
The Titans is a match they need to win to halt any thoughts of a late slide out of the eight.
Stephen Kearney's men will certainly be confident of a rapid response - not only have they won 14 of their last 15 matches against the Titans, they've only lost back-to-back matches once this season.
The Warriors also make the flight to Coolangatta for the match at Cbus Stadium with a thoroughly impressive 7-2 away record in the 2018 Telstra Premiership season.
"That experience, you can't get it besides playing footy… and you don't get that experience unless you are playing close games and there's not many close games like that, like 12-6, in the NRL every week,” said Green, who is set for his 135th NRL appearance and 18th for the Warriors this weekend.
"You don't really get that high quality type of game. So it was really good experience for our boys to see what that feels like and I'm sure we'll be better the next time when we are in that situation."
Green joked he was a 'fairly composed, fairly patient" spectator against the Storm and had learned a few things "just watching the boys put in". So what exactly did he see from the Mt Smart Stadium bleaches that the Warriors might be able to take into Sunday's match against the Titans?
"It was just a few technical things, just a few key moments in the game that probably changed the momentum for us that we probably need to be a little bit smarter about, or a little bit better to execute in certain times of the game. We'll learn from it."
The Titans might be out of the race for the eight, a poor 3-5 record at home, and coming off three straight losses, including a 30-24 defeat by the Newcastle Knights in round 19, but Green refuses to take the Garth Brennan’s men lightly.
"They're a good footy team, they've got some really skilful footy players. I think they're coming fourth in the competition for line breaks so they know how to attack," Green said.
"I think the last few weeks they've been really dangerous, [halfback] Ash Taylor's been in some really good form, they've got some really hard-working forwards that are under-rated in my opinion, so they know what they’re doing.
"We are going to be in for a tough day on Sunday and we need to make sure our defence is bang on."
Green is delighted back-rowers Tohu Harris and Leivaha Pulu are near to returns from injury.
"It's a huge boost because it puts pressure on everyone to perform," Green said of the slowly clearing Warriors casualty ward.
"Everyone is going to put their hand up in the next week or so, so Mooks [Kearney] has got a tough call on his hands to name the side."