Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has put the onus on his side's forwards to ease the pressure on rookie halfback Mason Lino in tonight's do-or-die NRL clash against Cronulla.
Lino impressed in his first NRL game in two years while filling in for injured No7 Shaun Johnson in last week's 24-12 defeat to North Queensland in Townsville.
The 23-year-old ran strongly and directed the team around the park well, but for a couple of occasions where he found himself under pressure while attempting to kick on the last tackle.
Kearney is confident Lino has learned from those errors but believes the Warriors big men can do more to make his job easier in tonight's game at Mt Smart Stadium.
"At times finishing our sets, in terms of the ruck, I don't think the forwards did a good enough job in setting up the last play," said Kearney.
"We spoke earlier this week about making sure that we finish off our sets a little more effectively.
"But given the time that [Lino's] had away from first grade, he brought a real calmness to the group. I was impressed and I'm sure he'll only improve."
The Warriors head into tonight's match needing to win all of their remaining six games to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
They face a mountainous task if they are to claw their way up from 12th spot on the NRL ladder and into the top eight, with a six-point gap separating them and three other sides locked together on 18 points - the Raiders, Titans and Bulldogs - from the eighth-placed Dragons and ninth-ranked Panthers.
Producing a consistent performance remains the primary focus, after they let slip an early advantage to allow the Cowboys back into the match before a slow start to the second-half also proved costly.
"It's about making sure that it's an 80 minute performance and not having those periods where we drop off," Kearney said.
"We have a wonderful challenge against the defending premiers and what they bring every time they play so we're looking forward to it."
Despite last week's result, quick line speed and numbers in the tackle helped the Warriors to limit the impact of the Cowboys big ball-runners.
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck says they'll need to replicate that defensive effort against a formidable Sharks pack featuring NSW State of Origin stars Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham, captain Paul Gallen and 300-game veteran back-rower Luke Lewis.
"We try to get numbers on players like that who can run and offload and they pretty much spark up their team's go-forward," said Tuivasa-Sheck.
"If we can limit the impact of those guys it will go a long way to helping us."
The Warriors forwards occasionally went overboard in the aggression stakes to concede penalties and Kearney says they need to tread a fine line.
"It is a physical game and when you're trying to pull down the likes of [Jason] Taumalolo and [Coen] Hess and that sort of player you've got to be physical.
"There are some (penalties) that can be avoided and they're the ones that coaches get annoyed with, but there are some which are part and parcel with our game.
"The focus this week is making sure that up against another big physical pack that we make them earn every metre. So that means certainly not giving away penalties that coaches don't like."
Warriors v Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium, tonight, 8pm
Updated team lists from Thursday:
Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), David Fusitu'a, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Kieran Foran, Mason Lino, Jacob Lillyman, Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Bunty Afoa, Simon Mannering.
Interchange: Ata Hingano, Sam Lisone, Ligi Sao, Tevita Satae, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, James Bell.
Sharks: Valentine Holmes, Sosaia Feki, Jack Bird, Ricky Leutele, Gerard Beale, Fa'amanu Brown, Chad Townsend, Andrew Fifita, James Segeyaro, Matt Prior, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen (c).
Interchange: Jayson Bukuya, Chris Heighington, Kurt Capewell, Jeremy Latimore, Joseph Paulo, Adam Clydsdale.
Referees: Matt Cecchin, Gavin Reynolds.