Warriors try to stay grounded
While the Warriors had the benefit of flying under the radar in Perth, now the challenge is to perform when everyone expects them to.
Prior to the start of the season, this weekend’s NRL clash against Gold Coast at Mt Smart would have been one of the few games over the opening eight rounds the Auckland club would have been favoured to win.
They have owned the Titans since 2011, winning 13 of their last 14 matches, including the last five in a row.
Of course, both teams made a mockery of pre-season predictions last week as the Titans, under rookie coach Garth Brennan, pulled off a great escape against Canberra a day after the Warriors’ upset win over South Sydney.
Still, playing at home for the first time this year and given the all-round quality of their performance against the Rabbitohs, the Warriors head into the match as strong favourites.
"This competition is 26 rounds and you've got turn up every week with an attitude to do a job and improve yourself."
Stephen Kearney, Warriors coach
Despite being only one game, the hype is already building around Stephen Kearney’s squad, with a 28-strong media pack turning up to training yesterday.
But well aware they achieved nothing yet, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck says there has been no need to bring the team back to earth.
‘‘They’re all excited and happy that they got the win but after the review, there’s still a lot of improvements that we need to make,’’ Tuivasa-Sheck said.
‘‘There’s still lots of small things we can fix and the way the Titans played last week, we need to step up again.’’
The result in Perth instilled a confidence within the team around their new structure and game plan.
That they were able to execute at a high level was down to their preparation and that’s all they are worried about this week, as opposed to the extra attention coming their way.
‘‘This competition is 26 rounds and you’ve got to turn up every week with an attitude to do a job and improve yourself,’’ Kearney said.
‘‘We’ve got a specific focus for ourselves this weekend and that’s making sure we prepare really well to perform well – it doesn’t change with how many cameras are here.’’
Tuivasa-Sheck is looking to back up one of his most impressive performances in a Warriors jersey on Saturday.
Against Souths, the star fullback ran for more than 100m and made two outstanding try-saving tackles as well as producing two try assists in the second half to seal the result.
Tuivasa-Sheck’s ball-playing ability has not been as prominent as it was at the Roosters.
However, it’s an area of his game he is keen to utilise more alongside halves Blake Green and Shaun Johnson.
‘‘Playing with Greeny and Shaun Johnson, being able to create space on the edge there for our boys to score, that’s part of my game I want to grow and it’s my job to do it,’’ Tuivasa-Sheck said.
‘‘I’m pleased with the way I started but I feel there’s a lot of areas I need to put into my game, especially my backfield positioning and catching the high balls,’’ he said.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck gets back into training for the Warriors after last week’s opening-round win over South Sydney.