Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is looking for a physical response against Brisbane after blaming a soft attitude for last week's embarrassing NRL defeat to Penrith.

Kearney admitted a number of his players were reluctant to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in as they were out-muscled and overrun in their embarrassing loss to the under-strength Panthers.

He isn't panicking just yet but expects a more committed effort and collective improvement against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

"I'm not [panicking]," said Kearney.


"We had some guys that were probably hoping for an easier day out at the office and in this competition you just can't think like that.

"We all know to get a good performance we need everyone to do their jobs and I don't think we all had our hands up.

"There were a few guys that weren't prepared to get themselves a little bit dirty."

The Warriors are desperate to squash growing doubts over their finals credentials and avoid three-straight losses against a rising Broncos side searching for their fourth win in a row.

Brisbane are again expected to target the Warriors forward pack and follow the template that saw them end the Auckland outfit's five-game winning run with a round six 27-18 win at Mt Smart Stadium.

The match will see Kearney return to Brisbane where he spent four years (2013-2016) as an assistant to Broncos coach Wayne Bennett after the pair previously worked together with the Kiwis during their 2008 World Cup victory.

"They're a good side and they've played some tough games over the last month," said Kearney.

"They've had a couple of tight wins against the Sharks and Canberra and knocked the socks off the Titans on the weekend.


"I know Wayne and I know the individuals there. They're a good footy club and they're always there or thereabouts so it presents a wonderful challenge on Sunday."

Despite many fearing the Warriors have begun their traditional late-season slide, Kearney continues to look on the bright side despite his side falling from fourth position on the NRL ladder down to eighth spot over the past two weeks.

Right side centre Peta Hiku and halfback Shaun Johnson have come in for plenty of criticism in the wake of the defeat to the Panthers but Kearney says his underperforming players deserve the benefit of the doubt.

"We've got to remind ourselves too that we're two wins off the top of the table," he said.

"So as much as I know you all want to catastrophise it, it's not the end of the world.

"We had individuals that were a part of Friday night who didn't perform so well, who have also been a part of the team for the last 16-17 weeks and put us in a position where we are two wins off the top of the table.

"I always remind myself of that. I'm not one for putting up with poor performance but I've got to also take into account a lot of issues."

There is some concern over the fitness of hooker Issac Luke after he limped out of Tuesday's training early, however Kearney downplayed the issue.

"It's just his Achilles which he's always had a bit of an ongoing issue with. We were just resting him up really."

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