Just before the Warriors ran out for the second half against the Dragons on Saturday in Brisbane, the players got together to make a pact.

They promised each other that whatever happened over the next 40 minutes, they wouldn't die wondering.

It was Carpe Diem time.

Trailing 18-6 after a patchy first half, it felt like their season was on the line, while supporters watching on both sides of the Tasman feared a fifth successive defeat.


The playing group felt that pressure too, and after coach Stephen Kearney had given his instructions and team talk, decided enough was enough.

"We decided to go at it," said Warriors wing David Fusitu'a. "The boys' confidence had been a bit knocked over the last few weeks and in the first half there was a little bit of dipping the toe in, some uncertainty. But in the second half we committed to go full in and hold nothing back."

Fusitu'a also revealed that some good old fashioned red mist helped to fuel the Warriors remarkable comeback, with 20 unanswered points in the second half to power to a 26-18 win, as the frustrations of the last few weeks had reached boiling point.

"There was a bit of anger around," said Fusitua. "We have had a tough month and we didn't want it to carry on. It was either come out and do what we did in the first half, or change it all up and make sure we screw our heads on and get that game back for us."

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a. Photo / Photosport
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a. Photo / Photosport

Kearney tried to be constructive at halftime – emphasising some positives – but also warned the team that something had to change.

"He said we were a bit untidy at the ruck," said Fusitu'a. "If you are going to continue to let teams roll down the field, it's going to be a long night."

The Warriors were transformed in the second half. There was bite and menace on defence, as they discovered some of the urgency and intensity that had defined their 2018 season. With the ball things started to click – with Leeson Ah Mau and Ligi Sao helping to lay the platform – and the backline moves became more fluid. The team started to make good decisions; chancing their arm with some brilliant second phase play, without being reckless.

"In the first half everyone was looking at each other, so for them to come out and play the way they did – I don't know if we made an error in the second half - they never stopped going at them," said Kearney.


"It could have been easy to go into their shells and put their hands up…but they didn't. They showed courage to go after it. They went after the contest."

Both Kearney and Fusitu'a were full of praise for the impact of the bench – with Bunty Afoa, Sao, Karl Lawton and Jazz Tevaga helping to turn the tide – but this was a collective effort, as the Warriors responded as a unit.

The post-match vibe in the dressing room was of satisfaction and relief, as the team contemplated a job well done. There was also a special touch to the celebrations as Kearney, to mark his 100th NRL match as a coach, was forced to skull a beer by the team.

"I wasn't real pleased with that," laughed the mostly teetotal Kearney, "but sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone."

Music blared out of the changing rooms – put together by Tevaga during the week – while later the Warriors' victory song was heard for the first time in five weeks.