David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors aim to be desperate

Warriors' coach Andrew McFadden is demanding an improved effort from his forwards when they take on a big and mobile Canterbury Bulldogs pack in Wellington tomorrow night.

The Warriors forwards were outplayed in last Saturday's 34-18 defeat to Manly and McFadden hinted that some of his players were fortunate to retain their spots for the Westpac Stadium clash.

After producing strong performances in their wins over the Knights and Roosters, no Warriors forward managed more than 100m against Manly.

Kiwis prop Ben Matulino (94m) and Queensland State of Origin prop Jacob Lillyman (81m) had particularly quiet outings.

With the Warriors wallowing in 13th spot on the NRL ladder after four losses in their first six games, McFadden is expecting a strong response against a Bulldogs side boasting a formidable rotation of big men featuring captain James Graham, back-rower Tony Williams, and bench forwards Sam Kasiano and David Klemmer.

"That's certainly an area we need to be better at this weekend," said McFadden.

"I didn't like what our forwards did so they're going to have to really pick up their game and I know they're very determined.

Video

"There are some guys that need to bounce back really quickly. Fortunately for them they'd had some good performances leading up to that [loss to Manly] so you don't want to be too reactive.

"You need to allow them to make amends for their performance on the weekend so it's important that we do respond."

Improved ball security and more desperation on defence are also high on the Warriors' list of priorities, after they coughed up numerous unforced errors and defensive lapses against the Sea Eagles.

Captain Ryan Hoffman knows his side need to be prepared for the Bulldogs' relentless forward power and believes the visitors get stronger as games progress thanks to the heavy artillery on their bench.

"Canterbury's strength is in their pack," said Hoffman. "If you look at the blokes coming off the bench they're bigger than the blokes starting so you know after that first little onslaught that it's only going to get harder.

"It's a great challenge for us. We take a lot of pride in our pack and we're looking forward to the challenge.

"Ball security, discipline, all those areas. We know we're a good team and we can do some very good things when we get some consistency and cohesion and that's what we're looking to put forward."

McFadden agrees ball control has been their Achilles heel and is imploring his side to be more measured with their offloads and passing and show more desperation when defending their own line.

"That [poor ball control] is what has probably let us down," McFadden said.

"We just force our hand sometimes and we've just got to keep it tight again and stick at it because when we get that right balance we're a very difficult team to stop.

"We've just got to be a bit more desperate.

"There are parts of our game that are really good defensively. We looked less likely to be broken on the edges, that's been a strong point.

"But there's times when we just need to be more desperate to get to the football first. It's something we've spoken about."

Bulldogs v Warriors
Westpac Stadium, 7.30pm

Bulldogs: Will Hopoate, Curtis Rona, Josh Morris, Kerrod Holland, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Moses Mbye, Aiden Tolman, Michael Lichaa, James Graham (c), Josh Jackson, Tony Williams ,Greg Eastwood.
Interchange: Sam Kasiano, Tim Browne, David Klemmer, Adam Elliot, Lloyd Perrett (one to be omitted).

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jonathan Wright, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata, David Fusitu'a, Tuimoala Lolohea, Shaun Johnson, Sam Lisone, Isaac Luke, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman (c), Simon Mannering.
Interchange: Thomas Leuluai, Jacob Lillyman, Charlie Gubb, Konrad Hurrell, Ligi Sao (one to be omitted).

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 25 Feb 2017 05:47:08 Processing Time: 692ms