David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

League: 'Passive' Warriors exposed in ugly loss to Wests Tigers

The Warriors improved in the second-half but lacked the composure and accuracy to complete a second-half comeback against Wests Tigers. Photo/Getty.
The Warriors improved in the second-half but lacked the composure and accuracy to complete a second-half comeback against Wests Tigers. Photo/Getty.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden was at a loss to explain his side's "passive" start in yesterday's ugly 34-26 defeat to Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium but credited a change in mindset for an improved second-half.

A lack of mental application continues to trouble the Warriors who conceded five first half tries to trail 28-4 at the break, before piling on the points in a more committed second-half that saw them fall narrowly short of completing a remarkable comeback.

McFadden admitted his side failed to match the Tigers' physicality up front in a disorganised first 40 marred by defensive blunders and disjointed attacking play.

"We were really passive in the first half," said McFadden. "They won the physical battle and they had a fair bit of decent skill on the back of it.

"They've got a skillful side and we didn't match up with them there and that was the result."

The Warriors new-look spine looked unfamiliar and uncertain with high profile signings Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck unable to get into the first half, and new halves pairing Jeff Robson and Shaun Johnson struggled with little go-forward to work off.

It will take some time for those combinations to gel but the absence of energy and cohesion throughout the side was alarming and some basic errors at crucial times were unforgivable.

The tone was set when five-eighth Johnson failed to find touch from a penalty in the opening minute and despite showing spirit and glimpses of their potential in an improved second-half, they lacked the composure, accuracy and steel to snatch the result when it was on offer.

The Warriors forwards found some muscle after halftime, with new signing James Gavet, Bodene Thompson, Sam Lisone and Simon Mannering making their presence felt, and rookie hooker Nathaniel Roache added some spark off the bench.

That momentum allowed Johnson's attacking flair to come into play and three tries in eight minutes gave them some hope, however Jason Taylor's men were good enough to hang on before James Tedesco's 79th minute match-winner.

"I just felt like we were waiting for someone else to do it," McFadden said. "And maybe that's just the combinations and where we are as a team at the moment.

"It's hard for your halves to do anything when they're not winning the physical battle. Once they started to do that you saw what they can do.

"We've obviously got some new faces but I think we realised in the second-half that it takes a team effort and far more purpose with what you do.

"It's a mindset thing, just a more aggressive approach. If it wasn't for a couple of pretty poor errors at the end we might have been able to sneak home with it. But it wasn't to be and we've got to learn from it."

It doesn't get any easier for the Warriors, who have a short turnaround before meeting last year's grand finalists the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

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