Warriors five-eighth Chad Townsend says they need to improve their defensive mind-set and show greater desperation when they take on the table-topping Manly Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
Townsend was critical of the Warriors' lack of intensity in their 28-22 loss to the Brisbane Broncos last Saturday, and believes they let their standards drop after a good run in which they won seven of their previous nine encounters.
"Our effort and attitude in defence wasn't there and there were times when the ball was on the ground and our desperation to dive on the ball wasn't there," Townsend explained.
"I don't think we were desperate enough and that's something we need to change if we want to beat Manly. We obviously won a couple in a row and things were looking pretty good and we're still reasonably happy with the position that we're in but we've got a lot of improvement in us and we need to start showing it this weekend."
After watching Manly's 21-12 win over St George-Illawarra on Monday night, Townsend acknowledged the Warriors' right-edge defence could be in for a busy afternoon, if the Sea Eagles persist in attacking down their potent left side, through fullback Brett Stewart and centre Steve Matai.
"Pretty much all night they were going there. I'm not sure if that was because Benji Marshall was defending two in or what their strategy was there but I did notice they were going there a lot, which means our right edge is going to have to be up for a big challenge. I'm sure they'll put the work in and give it their best shot."
Coach Andrew McFadden admitted Stewart posed a huge threat out wide and believes he holds the key to much of what Manly do with the football. "He's the key to their whole attack. Most of the quality stuff that happens around the ball revolves around him and he's a very good player," he said.
Townsend's kicking game has come in for some criticism after the Warriors repeatedly bombed to the Broncos' left-flank without success. The 23-year-old denied they were looking to expose winger Lachlan Maranta, who was superb under the high ball, and said the tactic was designed to give Manu Vatuvei a chance at contesting possession.