Herald rugby league writer Dale Budge lists three things we learned from the Warriors 8-20 loss to the Raiders last night.
Kieran Foran is not the savior
Foran has played really well since joining the Warriors and Stephen Kearney's men are definitely a much better side when the former premiership winner is in their midst. But he is not the magic bullet that will turn this side into a premiership contender and any expectation of that sort is unfair. Foran was quiet against the Raiders but his presence was still felt through the increase in running game of halves partner Shaun Johnson. Foran has become the primary organizer and is actually playing the halfback role despite wearing the six jumper while Johnson is roaming more and that is making him more effective. The second half against the Raiders showed the gulf in class between the two sides and even Foran isn't capable of closing that kind of gap.
The Warriors second unit isn't doing enough
Kearney's pack delivered against the smaller Titans and Eels forwards but really struggled to contain or match the bigger Raiders especially when their second unit was on. Charlie Gubb (46m), Ligi Sao (45m) and Sam Lisone (75m) really offered very little against the Green Machine and that limited what attack the side could muster. The only Warrior forwards to run for over 100m were work-horse back rowers Simon Mannering and Ryan Hoffman. Compare that to the Raiders who had Shannon Boyd, Junior Paulo, Josh Papali'i and Elliott Whitehead all well into triple figures. Starter James Gavet was again the most threatening Warriors forward but he was kept in check by the Raiders. The Warriors had to rely on outside backs to help get them going. Kearney might need to look at making some changes to his bench against Melbourne if he wants any impact.
The forward problem is hurting out wide
People will point to winger Ken Maumalo's crucial handling errors and a weak attempt of tackle that led to Joseph Leilua's first try as reason to make a change. Maumalo is prone to mistakes and let's be honest - he really isn't a typical winger given his lack of pace, ability to beat an opponent with footwork or even the athleticism you see from most wingers these days. But he is too important to the side to leave out at the moment. Maumalo ran for 154m and has been consistently one of the leading metre-eaters for Kearney's side this year. His size and power often starts the set and helps make up for the lack of impact the Warriors forwards are having. If the Warriors address the forward problem before 2018 maybe they could afford to pick a winger with more traditional skills but in the mean time they badly need Maumalo out there especially with the similarly skilled Manu Vatuvei on the injured list.