Warriors coach Stephen Kearney refused to use his side’s Aussie isolation as an excuse but conceded the mental duress his players face may have contributed to some uncharacteristic errors in their 20-6 loss to Canberra on Saturday.
Kearney confirmed his side was committed to remaining in Australia for as long as it takes to keep the NRL season going, but knows his team needs a confidence-building win sooner rather than later to ease the burden of separation they’re feeling from family.
“If I’m honest we’re in it until whatever happens, happens,” Kearney said.
“We’ve committed to that. This week we’ve got Manly. I know its cliché but we’re taking it one week at a time.
“I can’t tell you what’s going to happen in a month's time, or two weeks’ time, it could be anything. But we’re committed to the NRL and committed to trying to improve our performance.”
The Warriors had their chances early against the Raiders, but a couple of dropped balls and solid Canberra defence conspired to keep them winless, as they look ahead to a long year based in Australia during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Raiders
Kearney was happy with the performance of young guns Eliesa Katoa, King Vuniyayawa and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown but lamented some errors by senior players Adam Blair and Tohu Harris when the Warriors were trying to build pressure.
“We had our moments out there but I think when we started to build a little bit of pressure on the Raiders we came up with some crucial mistakes,” Kearney said.
“A couple of senior guys like Blairy (Adam Blair), it’s not usually like him but he came up with three errors.
“Adam would be first one to say that he doesn’t normally make those sort of errors.”
Kearney was adamant though his side’s extended isolation in Australia and separation from their families would never be used as an excuse and the Warriors had committed to keeping an “improvement” mindset so their season doesn’t spiral into a year of pain.
“That’s not an excuse for today. It’s been a challenge, certainly at the start of the week and adjusting to circumstance,” he said.
“We have to look at the performance today and that’s no excuse some of those errors.
“We have to make sure we keep ourselves in the frame of mind of being better. That’s important and working this week with a shortish turnaround.
“There’s a couple of things not quite working for us at the moment. We need to make a couple of adjustments particularly when we’ve got the footy that I think will help our attack.
Raiders thank Warriors for commitment to competition
“They’re not major adjustments but just a couple of adjustments we can make during the week.”
When asked if those changes involved personnel rather than structure, Kearney quipped he had nobody to call upon as all of his reinforcements from New Zealand still had more days to serve in self-isolation before they were allowed by the Australian government to join the team in camp.
“Personnel? Have you got someone who can play?” Kearney said.
“We’ve got them but we can’t use them.”
The Warriors will have to wait at least another week until reinforcements Agnatius Paasi, Gerard Beale, Patrick Herbert, Josh Curran and Jazz Tevaga have completed their 14-days of self-isolation before they can join the team in camp.