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Apr 23, 2013
Women happy to fly the Warriors' flag deep into September


Last updated 15:37, September 14 2018


The Warriors women's team are preparing for week two of the inaugural NRLW premiership.

The Warriors women's side say their season-opening win in the NRLW premiership is a weight off their shoulders, as they prepare for the Dragons in Sydney on Saturday.

Nobody gave them a shot against early competition favourites the Sydney Roosters, but that didn't stop the Warriors women bashing and bruising their way to a tough win, built on defence.

Back-rower Alice Vailea said it was a massive learning curve and they were happy the "hype and pressure" of that was behind them.

However, with the men's side failing to win their play-off game against Penrith, the women now have the added pressure of carrying the whole club through September. Something they welcome.

Alice Vailea, Luisa Gago, Raquel Anderson-Pitman and Sui Tauasa-Pauaraisa fronted media at Mt Smart on Thursday.

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"To be honest, I think the girls are going to enjoy the added attention," Vailea said.

"We had massive support all last week and now that the men unfortunately are out, knowing we again have the support of our family and possibly more fans as well as the whole club behind us is huge."

Vailea, 22, was one of the standout performers in the side's win, running for more than 80m, making four tackle busts and dishing out some bruising tackles as well.

The teacher aide, who models her game off one-man-wrecking-ball Jason Taumalolo, knows she will have to back up with a similarly solid performance this week, if her side are to beat the Dragons at ANZ Stadium.

"Going into last week, the first ever women's NRL game at a big stadium, there was a lot of pressure. I thought I'd be a lot more nervous than I was to be honest but we just went out there as a team nice and focused which really helped," she said.

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Four of the Warriors who will on Saturday take on the Dragons, who were beaten 30-4 by Brisbane in their season opener.

"We will have to be just as focused this week, more so actually, because we know the Dragons will come to play. The senior players in our team and coach really help us younger girls with that."

Head coach Luisa Avaiki said there was definitely a more relaxed feeling amongst the group, but she has sent the message to her players not to lose focus.

"It's different (this week) in the sense that there is a little relief that the first one, and all that pressure, is out of the way," she said.

Lorina Papali'i, mother of Warriors men's back-rower Isaiah Papali'i, has again been named on the bench this week.

"But in saying that we are still focused on our job because we have to be on, we want to be there at the end. That's the ultimate goal and nothing has changed there."

While she was happy with the side's defence, this Saturday was about igniting the attack and playing their own brand of "Warrior ball", she said.

"We were guilty last week of having a lot of ball in good areas but failing to capitalise. It's all about execution and we have to make sure we just really move the ball, get numbers on an edge and play some expansive, exciting footy which we are capable of doing."

- Stuff

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