Playmaker admits folding under pressure of carrying out game plan without assistance from injured star half Johnson but promises to relax and step up.

Playmaker Chad Townsend admits his form has suffered because of the pressure he has put on himself to execute the Warriors' game plan without the assistance of injured halfback Shaun Johnson.

Townsend was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons during an error-ridden performance in last weekend's humiliating 36-0 defeat to St George Illawarra.

Dropped balls, wayward passes and kicks and missed tackles made for a frustrating afternoon for the 24-year-old, at the helm of a misfiring backline who struggled to find their attacking mojo.

Picking himself up after the demoralising display, Townsend says he has addressed the reasons behind his poor form, and is itching to make amends in tomorrow's vital match against the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium in Sydney's west.

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"I was bitterly disappointed with how I played on the weekend," said Townsend.

"I had a good look at myself after the game and had a good chat to Cappy [coach Andrew McFadden] as well.

"I've just been putting a bit too much pressure on myself and Cappy said he recognised that. He said just to drop the pressure off myself and relax and go out there and enjoy myself.

"That's what I was doing a couple of weeks ago so I've taken that on board and I'm looking to move forward now."

Townsend admits part of the pressure he felt was to ease Tui Lolohea's transition into the No7 role and not leave the youngster feeling as if he needed to live up to Johnson's reputation as the Warriors' go-to guy.

In trying to take on even more of a leading role, he began overplaying his hand and involving himself in too many plays.

Playing what he sees and prioritising set completions is the approach he is looking to adopt, as the 10th-placed Warriors look to end a four-game losing streak and keep their slim finals prospects alive.

"I had a bit more kicking responsibility and getting in position for things that were affecting my game," he said.

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"I didn't have my eyes up and that's an area that I was really good at before. Playing what's in front of me and calling the ball and that's an area that I see I need to improve on.

"Just trying to get myself into position for the last play instead of playing every play, and that's an area I was really good at previously. Just playing each play on their merits."

McFadden's reputation as an even-tempered mentor meant that despite his frustration there was no yelling and screaming going on in the Westpac Stadium sheds.

Conscious of his players' fragile mindsets, McFadden detailed in no uncertain terms where they had gone wrong, but emphasised how they would get things back in shape for this week's match.

"Obviously he was disappointed but he's very measured in his approach. Very rarely do you see Cappy blowing his lid, which is a positive. He's very real with what he says and very honest in his appraisal of our games and areas that we need to improve. His honesty is a massive plus for us as players."

Having NSW State of Origin back-rower Ryan Hoffman back, after five games out with a calf injury, will add confidence to the team and specifically Townsend's left edge.

"Hoffy not only brings us a whole lot of experience but he's a quality player and someone that I'm very happy to defend next to.

"This is a massive challenge for us. Everyone's writing us off and our backs are against the wall."

Panthers v Warriors

Pepper Stadium, 7.30pm tomorrow

Will Smith
David Simmons
Isaah Yeo
Lewis Brown
Josh Mansour
Isaac John
Jamie Soward
Sam McKendry
James Segeyaro
R Campbell-Gillard
Bryce Cartwright
Tyrone Peachey
Elijah Taylor (c)

Sam Tomkins
Ken Maumalo
D Peyroux
Solomone Kata
Jonathan Wright
Chad Townsend
Tuimoala Lolohea
Jacob Lillyman
Nathan Friend
Sam Rapira
R Faitala-Mariner
Ryan Hoffman
S Mannering (c)

Panthers: Tupou Sopoaga, Jeremy Latimore, Leilani Latu, Sika Manu, Api Koroisau.

Warriors: Konrad Hurrell, Albert Vete, Sam Lisone, Charlie Gubb.