NRL: Warriors urged to finish campaign on high note

Matt Cooper of the Dragons. Photo / Getty Images
Matt Cooper of the Dragons. Photo / Getty Images

Warriors interim head coach Tony Iro has only one week left in his extended job interview and he wants his side to finish their poor NRL campaign on a high against Canberra in Auckland on Sunday.

The Warriors slumped to their seventh consecutive loss on Saturday when they were hammered 38-6 by rampant St George-Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.

After Brian McClennan was shown the door early last week, assistant coach Iro was handed the reins for the remainder of the season.

There has been plenty of chatter that the club will open the chequebook to bring in a "super coach", but for now Iro has the unenviable task of trying to guide the team in the final week of their campaign.

As for whether he thought the loss would hinder his aspirations to take on the top job, he said: "I'm just keen on getting this side to perform next week in front of our home crowd."

"It's been a tough year for our members. We certainly owe them a good performance."

Defeat by the Dragons came via another poor performance from the Warriors, who have struggled all season with a high injury toll and inexperience in key positions.

In regards to the most recent listless effort, however, Iro was probably a little kind in his review.

"The boys tried hard, fought right till the end," he said.

"We're not playing with a lot of confidence or a lot of luck at the moment."

The Dragons were inspired by the impending retirements of club stalwarts Dean Young and Ben Hornby, although the latter nearly missed the game as he struggled with a gastric bug the night before the match.

Winger Daniel Vidot also fell victim to the virus and was a late scratching, while Dragons hooker Mitch Rein had to leave the field in the first half because of the illness.

It didn't appear to ruin the flow of the Dragons attack too much, though, as they ran in tries through Will Matthews, Chase Stanley, Josh Miller, Ben Creagh and Matt Cooper. Kiwi international Jason Nightingale crossed twice.

Twenty-six of the home side's points came in the second spell, which has been the troublesome half for the Warriors during the past seven weeks.

Only Shaun Johnson got on the board for the visitors when he crossed in the 28th minute, but the halfback failed to see out the first spell as he left the field with blurred vision.

The Warriors round out the year when a desperate Canberra side come to Auckland.

The Raiders are in need of competition points as they chase a top-eight spot.

They are flying high, having beaten the table-topping Bulldogs 34-6 in Canberra on Friday night and boast dangerous fullback Josh Dugan in their ranks as well as Queensland State of Origin front-rower David Shillington.

- APNZ

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