Warriors coach Stephen Kearney at a loss to explain lack of aggression

David Skipwith, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sunday, 27 May 2018, 1:28PM
The Warriros have lost four of their past seven games, after a 5-0 start to the season. (Photo / Getty)
The Warriros have lost four of their past seven games, after a 5-0 start to the season. (Photo / Getty)

Coach Stephen Kearney is at a loss to explain why the Warriors continue to struggle to match the passion and physicality of visiting sides after last night's 30-10 defeat to South Sydney.

The Warriors began positively with front-rower Agnatius Passi scoring inside four minutes but it all went downhill from there, with the Rabbitohs forwards dominating the home side in the five-tries-to-two victory at Mt Smart Stadium.

The result continues an inconsistent run that's seen them lose four of their last seven games, and in those defeats they have leaked 139 points while managing just 38 in reply.

Worryingly, three of those losses have been in front of their home fans, and the lacklustre performance against the Rabbitohs mirrored the submissive nature of their 32-0 loss to the Sydney Roosters a fortnight ago.

Kearney said he will spend next week's bye round working together with assistant coaches Andrew McFadden, Stacey Jones and Tony Iro, to find a remedy for the side's lack of steel and aggression in both attack and defence.

"We started well but overall it's been a bit of a common theme where teams coming here bring their best footy and physically we couldn't match it with them tonight," said Kearney.

"So that's something that we need to address.

"We were trying really hard but we didn't have the flow that we've had in our attack. It just didn't click for us tonight so it's disappointing.

"We get a break next week and me and the other coaches will be working out how we can arrest teams coming here and beating us up physically and that's our job to do that."

Warriors captain and father-to-be Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tried hard to lift his side before he limped off with an ankle injury in the 72nd minute.

The 26-year-old left the sheds on crutches with his leg in a moonboot and will have scans tomorrow.

Kearney paid tribute to Tuivasa-Sheck's ability to put his personal concerns aside, as his fiancée Ashley Walker continues to await the arrival of their first baby.

"He's done terribly well considering the circumstances," he said.

"He's been on tenterhooks the whole week and sometimes when you come into a contest with something like that in your mind it can be difficult and challenging.

"He's a thorough professional and he handles that sort of thing well. It's a pretty big distraction but he puts it to the side and tonight he played pretty well."

Kearney conceded the side's attack had suffered in the absence of injured halfback Mason Lino, with fill-in No 7 Blake Green burdened with the organising and kicking duties alongside fill-in five-eighth Peta Hiku.

"We just had the one kicker and Greeny trying to organise stuff and it puts a lot of pressure on him.

"They were really going after him when he had the footy, when he was kicking or trying to set up plays.

"In terms of how much effect it had I'm not 100 per cent sure, but it does throw a bit of that out in terms of the flow of our attack."

The result sees the Warriors drop one spot to fourth on the premiership ladder ahead of their next game against Manly in Christchurch on June 9.

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