The familiar Warriors late season fade appears to be on again.

Since the successful 2011 campaign – where the Auckland club reached the grand final – they have traditionally hit the skids during the final third of the season, after the State of Origin period.

During that spell they have averaged a 25 per cent win ratio in their final eight game stretch of each campaign.

After successive heavy losses against the Roosters and Sharks, the portents aren't good for the reminder of the season, where they face the Rabbitohs (fifth) and Raiders (third).


After a promising period through most of June and July, the Warriors have faltered badly in August, with the poor performances against the Raiders (46-12), Roosters (42-6) and Sharks (42-16).

With the exception of the win over Manly in round 21, the team has struggled to step up against the big guns, after a decent run against mostly middleweight teams.

That six game spell, with included three wins, a draw and two narrow defeats to the Eels and Panthers, has become a reference point for what is possible from this team, but did it create a false dawn?

While it was a tough stretch with plenty of travel and some bemusing refereeing calls, the victories included wins over the hapless Titans and the Knights team missing seven front line players, including their Origin stars.

Since then, aside from the Sea Eagles game, the Warriors haven't been in the contests, but coach Stephen Kearney disputes that the earlier positive run had created an illusion of their true ability.

"I don't know if it was a false sense, we had to endure and work pretty hard through that block and four of those matches on the road," said Kearney. "All of them were pretty tight, exerting a lot of physical and mental energy and circumstances drained even more mental energy."

Stephen Kearney. Photo / Photosport
Stephen Kearney. Photo / Photosport

But Kearney conceded that the team has struggled with the tougher opponents.

"No doubt, [we've been] up against some quality opposition and the truth is we aren't where we need to be," said Kearney.


"We are where we are because we haven't been good enough. What does that come down to? Bit of game management, bit of execution at certain times, that's something we need to look to improve and keep pushing."

The coach also admitted that in three of the last four weeks the defensive effort has been "totally unacceptable", prompting a renewed focus on defence this week.

He was reluctant to make personnel changes, keeping faith with the players that got the job done against the Sea Eagles three weeks ago.

The only major switch has been the demotion of Chanel Harris-Tavita, back to a bench utility role, which Kearney said was due to Kodi Nikorima being back to full fitness.

Kearney also said that his public dispute with Cameron George is fully resolved ("it's been put to bed, all sorted"). He was unaware of how the CEO's comments – which criticised the effort of the playing group, among other things – had been received by the squad, but said his relationship with George was one of mutual respect.

"I understand where Cam is coming from, he is very passionate about our footy club and he wants us to improve and be better," said Kearney. "Cameron tells it how it is sometimes and that's how we both operate."

The Warriors have their captain's run on Thursday, with halfback Blake Green (knee strain) needing to prove his fitness, after sitting out the contact sessions on Tuesday. Kearney said there were no other injury concerns among those listed to play.

"Probably more the spirit that is a bit dented," lamented Kearney. "That's our biggest injury."