Auto Poster Coach Stephen Kearney sets sights on improving NZ Warriors attack

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Apr 23, 2013
Coach Stephen Kearney sets sights on improving NZ Warriors attack


Last updated 00:53, August 11 2018


The NZ Warriors continued their push towards the NRL playoff with a home win over the Newcastle Knights.

The Warriors have never been known as one of the great defensive teams, but that's changing as they look certain to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

The 20-4 win over the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium was another game where the Warriors showed that by determination and a willingness to stay within their structures, they can keep attacks at bay.

"I thought it was a real tough, gritty performance, based on our defence," Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said after the game.

Stephen Kearney watched on as the Warriors won their fifth home game of the season on Friday night.

"The guys did a really good job at shutting down opportunities from the Knights and they did that through a real persistence in what we call the detail in our defence.

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"They were pretty relentless with it and for me, a good example of it was at the back end when we decided to take the penalty, but the Knights at that stage looked down on their feet.

"The guys had earned that through the defensive work they did."

The Warriors haven't conceded more than 12 points in all but one of their last five games and that's been achieved by the forwards being up for the challenge in the middle of the park and the outside backs running strongly."

"We set a bit of a challenge for them," Kearney said.

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"In games like these in the past, we've let ourselves down in terms of our physicality, when we haven't aimed up.

"That starts when you carry the footy and Ken (Maumalo), Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) and David (Fusitu'a), actually all of the back five, they set the tone for us in attack in terms of their physicality and the way they carried the footy.

"But I thought Roger's effort followed on from last week, in terms of his performance."

Tuivasa-Sheck ran for 338m in the game and is playing some of his best ever footy at the Warriors.

But Kearney is looking for more on attack from his team overall.

"In the last two weeks we've shown defensively what we're capable of and that's got to be the base standard for us," he said.

"But definitely the area of improvement for us is the polish on our attack.

"I thought our attack was just tinkering on clicking tonight and we've probably been a bit like that over the last month.

"So to me, it's a bit of individual skill and detail, so that's the focus for us this week.

"Once we look at the game closely, I'm sure there will be other stuff I'll find that we can improve on, but that's the one that stands out, I just think we haven't quite nailed the attack."

Friday night was a special one for hooker Issac Luke. He played his 250th NRL game and after the final whistle a haka was performed from a section of the crowd, which he responded to with his own haka.

Kearney said the Warriors marked the occasion by bringing in one of his former club coaches.

"We had Michael Maguire come in and present Bully with his jumper yesterday and he spoke wonderfully well of him," Kearney said.

"It should be mentioned about Michaella his wife, I'm pretty sure Bully (Luke) wouldn't have got to 250 games if it wasn't for Michaella.

"It's a real significant milestone for him, he's not the biggest fellah and the way he's gone about it to notch up 250 games is a real credit to him and his family.

"I thought the team responded with a real tough performance for him tonight. Bully was OK, he probably could have played better, but the team put in a real performance for him."

- Stuff

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Warriors defeat Knights to close in on NRL playoffs

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