Green holds key to Warriors' finals hopes
Blake Green has vowed to carry the football more but realises it could be something harder to discern that helps get the Warriors to the NRL finals.
Green ran for a season-high 102 metres in the Warriors' 20-4 win over visiting Newcastle last weekend, capping one of his best performances in the No.6 jersey for the Auckland-based club with a pivotal try just after half-time.
"I've been running the footy the last four weeks, just haven't scored any tries like that so you've probably only just noticed it," Green said with a hint of annoyance.
When Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke are your team-mates, it's hard for your attacking prowess to flourish.
But Green surprised a few observers with a shimmy, tackle bust and fend on Knights veteran Chris Heighington en route to the try-line.
But the 31-year-old knows the Warriors need him probing more often to unleash the likes of Johnson and RTS.
Green's words should be an ominous warning for Canterbury, who the Warriors face on Sunday at ANZ Stadium.
"It's important for me to run the footy," Green said.
In his last four matches he has run 62, 54, 64 and 102 metres - exceeding his season average of 45.7 metres.
"I've obviously got some really good threats on either side of the field when I run the ball, so I need to make sure I keep [the opposition] honest in the middle and make sure they don't slide off so that I can preserve the space for [the Warriors runners]," Green said.
The Warriors are Green's sixth NRL club after stints at the Eels, Sharks, Bulldogs, Storm and Sea Eagles dating back to 2007.
He was at his running best for Melbourne with a 62-metre average in 2015 when eventual premiers North Queensland stopped the Storm one short of that season's grand final. His average was 55 metres the following year when the Storm were beaten 14-12 in the grand final by Cronulla.
Throw in four successful years in the Super League for Hull and Wigan and Green's experience could very well be as important as the running metres he clocks in the run to the playoffs.
After facing the Bulldogs, the Warriors close the regular season with Friday night home games against Penrith and Canberra.
Green has played in eight NRL finals matches and was a key member of Wigan's Super League-Challenge Cup double side in 2013, claiming the man-of-the-match gong in the championship decider.
"I guess I'm pretty calm in these situations so I'm not going to get too far ahead of ourselves yet," he said.
"I know it's a bit of a cliché. Mooks [coach Stephen Kearney] has probably rolled it out in his [media] talk, but our next focus is the week ahead.
"We're not experienced enough as a footy team yet to look at the long term. We just need to focus on this week and we've got a few areas we need to improve on in attack."
Green's 10 try assists this season has already equalled his NRL best.
"You've just got to keep getting people in the picture," he said.
"When you make those half breaks, they're just instinctive reactions so it's hard to actually train for some of that stuff, but the more people you can get in the picture, more than likely things are going to go your way.
"The Bulldogs have been doing a terrific job over the last month. They're going to be a big challenge for us on the weekend.
"So we're getting close [to finals footy] but we can't really take our eyes off the Dogs this week."