Warriors coach Stephen Kearney was pleased with the way his side coped with the pressure of playing in front of a packed home crowd to secure a 22-12 NRL win over the Cowboys in Auckland last night.
The Warriors' strong start to the season helped draw 26,500 fans to the double header clash (also featuring the Tigers and Storm) and the home side didn't disappoint with a gutsy defensive display defining their victory over last year's grand finalists.
Kearney felt his players handled the occasion well as they went about extending their winning run to five games having withstood a courageous second-half comeback from the visitors.
"The first half showed how they handled it, they defended well and executed really well in that first half," Kearney said. "It was a real tough contest. We came up against a desperate footy side and I've seen that team win those type of games in the past a number of times.
"They had something like 95 per cent completions with 15 minutes to go and it took us a lot to try and get over the try line in that second half, they were very desperate.
"The guys had to find a way to squeeze them out and they did."
Cowboys coach Paul Green felt his side were the better performers despite the scoreline, with his players controlling the ball well despite being unable to conjure enough points.
The Warriors went away from the game plan that helped them score three tries to claim a 18-6 halftime lead and were unable to penetrate the Cowboys defence in the second half, while the visitors kept themselves in the game with their second try to fullback Ben Hampton.
"I'm not taking anything away from the Warriors, they deserved to win absolutely, but if you didn't know the score and you were watching and saw how they played you would have thought the game was a lot closer if not our way," said Green.
"For a lot of periods in both halves we were the best side. But when you concede those soft tries your confidence goes away after that.
"I thought we were the better side for all of that second half."
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck blamed six second-half errors for putting them under pressure and blunting their attacking power when they were in scoring range.
"It's tough to continue defending your line for too long and they managed to score a try and they had too many classy players, we couldn't put them away," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
"The second half we came out strong again but because we were defending our line too often we got down to their end and just couldn't execute."