David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors out to make amends after honest review

Ryan Hoffman of the Warriors. Photo / Getty
Ryan Hoffman of the Warriors. Photo / Getty

A brutally honest team review of the Warriors 24-12 NRL defeat to Canterbury has them ready to make amends in Sunday's important round four clash against St George Illawarra in Sydney.

The Warriors failed to capitalise on a wealth of possession and scoring chances against the Bulldogs but back-rower Ryan Hoffman was more concerned about his side's fragile defence.

The Bulldogs had little difficulty running in four tries at Forsyth Barr Stadium with debutant wing Marcelo Montoya and Brett Morris both crossing in the final 14 minutes to seal victory after the Warriors had fought back to claim a 12-10 lead.

"The key for us at the moment, attack will come for us, but we need to have a stronger defensive mindset," Hoffman told Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave.

"We defended well in patches but the four tries that the Bulldogs scored, they didn't have to work too hard to do them. So that's the major thing that we need to adjust."

Hoffman, who filled in as captain last week in the absence of fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, was confident the players are clear about their short-comings both as individuals and as a team, following a frank group discussion and performance review today.

"We've got some players who are learning some lessons and they're going to be better players for it," he said.

"But we've had a very constructive review process today. It was probably one of the best that I've ever been a part of at the Warriors.

"It comes down to one word and that is honesty. As individuals we were extremely honest to each other and that's only going to be for the betterment of the team.

"We're under no illusions of where we stand as individuals and certainly under no illusions as to where we stand as a team.

"What we're looking forward to on the weekend is rectifying that."

The Warriors face a daunting task against the Dragons, who yesterday claimed an upset 16-10 local derby victory over the Sharks.

The joint-venture club has proved to be the Warriors most challenging opponent since entering the competition in 1999.

Last year's 26-10 victory at Mt Smart Stadium ended one of the NRL's longest running hoodoos for the Warriors, who had lost their previous 11 clashes against the Red V and managed only five wins from 24 encounters overall.

The Warriors will be thankful this game is being played at Sydney's UOW Jubilee Oval, where they are one from two after beating the Dragons 30-20 in 2003, and not in Wollongong, where they remain winless after 10 visits.

"They're a good team. Not too many teams have beaten the reigning premiers at Cronulla over the last 18 months so it's a great challenge for us."

The Warriors hope Tuivasa-Sheck will be fit to play after being sidelined with a concussion suffered in the round two defeat to Melbourne, while Kieran Foran also remains a chance of making his highly anticipated first appearance in Warriors colours.

"We'll wait and see," said Hoffman. "[Foran] trained well today but he's been training well the last month. It's not my decision so we'll have to wait and see on Sunday."

Warriors record v St George Illawarra

* Five wins in 24 encounters, four coming at Mt Smart Stadium.
* Winless in 10 trips to Wollongong, one from two in Sydney.
* Last year's 26-10 win in Auckland snapped an 11-game losing streak going back to 2007.

1999 - WIN 32-18 Ericsson Stadium
2000 - LOSS 8-36 Mt Smart Stadium
2000 - LOSS 0-54 WIN Stadium, Wollongong - Warriors' second worst defeat
2001 - WIN 34-8 Mt Smart Stadium
2001 - LOSS 18-38 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2002 - LOSS 22-32 Mt Smart Stadium
2003 - WIN 30-20 Oki Jubilee Oval, Sydney
2004 - LOSS 10-16 Mt Smart Stadium
2004 - LOSS 10-28 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2005 - LOSS 18-32 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2006 - LOSS 16-22 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2007 - WIN 44-16 Mt Smart Stadium
2008 - LOSS 6-36 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2009 - LOSS 11-12 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2009 - LOSS 4-29 Mt Smart Stadium
2010 - LOSS 20-22 Mt Smart Stadium
2011 - LOSS 12-25 Mt Smart Stadium
2011 - LOSS 22-26 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2012 - LOSS 6-38 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2013 - LOSS 10-19 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2014 - LOSS 12-31 Eden Park
2014 - LOSS 10-20 WIN Jubilee Oval
2015 - LOSS 0-36 Westpac Stadium, Wellington
2016 - WIN 26-10 Mt Smart Stadium

- NZ Herald

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