NRL: Warriors need to keep standards high

By Michael Brown

Simon Mannering. Photo / Getty Images.
Simon Mannering. Photo / Getty Images.

The Warriors might want to erase from their memories the humiliating defeat to Penrith a fortnight ago but they would actually do well to remember it.

Incredibly, the Warriors are rated by some bookies as favourites for tomorrow night's match against the Broncos in Brisbane even though they have won only three of their last 19 games and haven't won away from home for nine matches.

Yes, the Broncos have been decimated by State of Origin commitments (Justin Hodges, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and Matt Gillett) and injuries (Ben Hannant, David Stagg and Jack Reed) and, yes, the Warriors are nearly at full strength. But the Warriors are far too inconsistent to be rated as favourites - they haven't won consecutive games for nearly 12 months - and the Broncos often confound predictions at Origin time.

Last week the Warriors were the beneficiaries of the bounce-back effect. This week they need to be careful of complacency and believing their woes of a fortnight ago have been fixed with their 28-12 win over Newcastle.

"We can fall into a bit of complacency at times and we are not really know for stringing wins together,'' said Warriors second-rower Feleti Mateo, who had his best game of the year against the Knights.

"Complacency can be danger after big a turnaround for a lot of teams. It's just about addressing that. For the senior players, it's about stepping up and showing maturity on the field and some game management.

"We need to [play like we did last week]. Every week needs to be like that from now on in. We are third-last so we need to string some wins together to put us back in the picture. We are well aware of that. That's the level we expect to be at.''

They were particularly impressive in the second half against Newcastle, keeping the visitors scoreless. They also demonstrated they can hang onto a narrow lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

The Broncos have lost three of their last four games after a run of three-straight wins to sit midtable nearly halfway through the season. Coach Anthony Griffin has had to shuffle his side around and even called up former Warriors winger Denan Kemp, who quit the game at the end of last season and was pulling pints in a Wollongong pub when the Broncos came calling earlier in the season.

Josh Hoffman moves from the wing to take Hodges' place in the centres and Scott Prince returns at five-eighth after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Konrad Hurrell returns at centre for the Warriors, with Carlos Tuimavave out with a neck injury, and Dominique Peyroux has been included on an extended five-man bench.

Brisbane play a fairly dour style of football, attempting to get to the end of their sets, and the Warriors will need to keep errors to a minimum while still giving the ball some air.

The most important thing, however, is attitude and coach Matt Elliott isn't buying talk Brisbane will be significantly weaker with their Origin players out.

"Penrith had five or six of their players out [when we played them],'' he said. "What we need to do is focus on who they have in their team. They have some pretty handy players, guys who have played origin and international footy. I'm not concerned about who they don't have.''

- APNZ

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