Kearney says players lost physical battle
WARRIORS coach Stephen Kearney conceded his players weren’t able to physically match the Broncos in their 27-18 loss at Mt Smart Stadium last night.
For the first time this year, the Warriors weren’t able to sing their victory song at the end of a game and they were up against a determined Broncos team, that won the battle in the middle of the park.
‘‘I was pretty disappointed,’’ Kearney said afterwards.
‘‘I have to give credit to Brisbane, they came here with a real commitment and intent about them right from the outset and we didn’t match that.’’
Kearney said he knew at halftime that the players needed to lift their intensity to get back in the game. They were only trailing by a point at that time, but in every other statistic, they were far behind.
‘‘Right from the outset, I got the impression that we had to work ourselves back into the contest,’’ he said.
‘‘From a physical point of view, you can’t allow the opposition to come at you, you’ve got to match that physicality and I don’t think that improved a great deal over the game.’’
With the Broncos losing Kodi Nikorima and Matt Gillett from the game with injuries, the Warriors became the hot favourites for the victory.
Kearney said he didn’t feel his players took the opposition too lightly though.
‘‘I didn’t get a sense of that,’’ he said.
‘‘Our focus was on us and it’s a great lesson for us, that regardless of the situation, you’ve still got to turn up mentally and get in the physical battle.
‘‘I don’t think it was everyone, but there was more not quite ready physically tonight than what we’ve had in previous games.’’
Given the five wins at the beginning of the year, this loss brings the Warriors back to reality for some.
It’s not the end of the world and they’ve shown enough this year that they’re a good side, but they need to bounce back against the Dragons on Friday.
‘‘The important thing for us is the lesson we can take from this loss,’’ Kearney said. ‘‘For me, it’s about making sure individually and personally, that we take some ownership of the situation.’’
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck held similar views to Kearney that the team didn’t really have that spark in this game.
‘‘We came out nice and calm and focused on our goal,’’ he said. ‘‘But with the physical battle we weren’t responding and we had too many moments of us not responding.
‘‘When we did respond we were able to score points, but there just wasn’t enough during the whole game.’’
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett had some wise words for the Warriors.
‘‘They started the season well and a defeat isn’t going to hurt them, because they played pretty well here tonight. They wouldn’t be too disappointed in their effort tonight, I’m sure they’ll pick the pieces up very quickly and move on.’’
Warriors half Blake Green.