Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Three things we learned from Warriors loss to Raiders

Lolohea proves a point

After so much conjecture over his ability in the last seven days, Tui Lolohea made a considerable statement in Canberra. The Warriors utility was good - very good. There was considerable pressure on his shoulders and it wouldn't have surprised if Lolohea struggled, as he tried too hard to make an impact having finally got his chance. But that wasn't the case. He entered the match early in the second half and looked comfortable immediately. Lolohea added considerable pace and width to the Warriors attack, and caused panic in the Raiders defensive line, a catalyst for the Warriors late, late comeback. Without wanting to harp on over old ground, it was the kind of display that made you lament his lack of game time against the Sharks and Sea Eagles.

Prepare for a finals scrap

At the start of this season the Warriors management earmarked the top four as their aim, with a finish inside the top six - and a home final - as the fall back goal.

That looks unlikely now as the Auckland club are too far behind the chasing pack. Instead they'll have the fight of their lives to just to make the cut off for the eight. The Panthers and Titans have hit form at the right time of the season, but one of those two clubs will need to be displaced for the Warriors to play finals football. The Dragons and Tigers will also fancy their chances of a late run into the eight.

Gold from Gavet

Perhaps it was the boost of his new contract, but Warriors prop James Gavet had his best game of the season in the 26-22 loss to the Raiders. On Friday Gavet learned he would be at Mt Smart until at least the end of the 2017 season, after the club activated an option in his contract. On Saturday in Canberra he was highly impressive. Gavet carried the ball strongly into the massive Canberra pack and came up with two try saving tackles during the match, showing remarkable agility and pace to haul down a runaway Canberra back at one point. On that display he looks much better value than someone like Charlie Gubb, who has been preferred for long periods this year.

- NZ Herald

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