David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Rugby League: Greater patience key for Warriors

The Warriors hope they have absorbed lessons from their recent heart-breaking home defeat to the Melbourne Storm. Photo / Getty Images
The Warriors hope they have absorbed lessons from their recent heart-breaking home defeat to the Melbourne Storm. Photo / Getty Images

The Warriors hope they have absorbed lessons from their recent heart-breaking home defeat to the Melbourne Storm and are looking to display greater patience in tonight's Anzac Day NRL rematch at AAMI Park.

After competing well for the majority of their round three 21-14 defeat at Mt Smart Stadium, the Warriors saw the result slip through their fingers late in the game when the Storm showed better composure.

With the scores locked at 14-14 inside the last 10 minutes, a Warriors error near halfway allowed the visitors to swiftly work into position for halfback Cooper Cronk to slot a field goal before a Marika Koroibete try sealed the result in the 79th minute.

Melbourne, who are ranked sixth on the NRL ladder with a five and two win-loss record, also found themselves in another grinding contest in last week's 19-18 golden point win over Wests Tigers. Once more, coach Craig Bellamy's side kept mistakes to a minimum and completed 14 of 16 second-half sets before Cronk again provided the match-winning one-pointer at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.

Warriors coach Andrew McFad-den emphasised the importance of his side remaining focused and accurate for 80 minutes against an outfit that will bide their time and grow in confidence as the match progresses.

And while they produced a determined effort to upset the Bulldogs 24-20 in Wellington last round, the Warriors realise they need to build on that display if they are to improve both their patchy three and four record and climb up from 11th place on the competition standings.

"They back their defence, Melbourne, and they want to keep turning you around and we need to be prepared to do that because you can't avoid it," McFadden said.

"So we've got to play that patient style of football. Last time, it was very close and Melbourne completed at about 90 per cent so you've got to go the distance with them.

"We were pretty patient [against the Bulldogs]. We waited for our opportunities and when we got them, we utilised the football, so it's going to be no different this weekend.

"These games are traditionally a real battle so we've got to be patient again."

The loss of fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to a season-ending ACL injury is huge blow to the Warriors' season but McFadden was relieved the side can call on the hard-running and experience of veteran winger Manu Vatuvei, in his return after two games out with a hamstring injury.

"It's big getting any player back, but Manu, he brings a lot to our side," he said. "Losing Roger and that go-forward he gives the team, it's important it's made up somewhere, and Manu gives us that."

The individual contest between Warriors hooker Issac Luke and Storm skipper Cameron Smith will also be pivotal to both side's hopes.

After a slow start to the season, McFadden has been pleased with his No9's encouraging form over the past month and expects him to provide headaches for the home side's defence as his combinations with the Warriors forwards continue to develop.

"He's getting used to playing with the team, so you're starting to see some combinations build.

"And, as I said all along, that would take time, because it's more instinct than it is structured," McFadden said of Luke.

"I just want to continue to see him be consistent at running when he gets opportunities."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

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


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Oct 2016 12:29:12 Processing Time: 361ms