NRL: Warriors' fortunes changed after forwards only meeting
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/111992384/-

2019-04-21 03:22:16

Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi has revealed the players held a forwards only meeting to end their early season crisis.

The Warriors, who play the Rabbitohs on Saturday, got back on track by beating the Titans last weekend.

But before that, they suffered back to back heavy losses, getting smashed in the middle by Wests Tigers and the Sea Eagles.

It was so bad, it looked as if the Warriors would be more likely challenging for the wooden spoon this year, rather than a place in the top eight.

But after those defeats, a meeting was called where the forwards spoke honestly about what had been going wrong.

That talk had a dramatic affect as the Warriors' forwards were a vastly improved unit against the Titans last weekend and they're looking to continue like that against the Rabbitohs on Saturday.

At the meeting, Paasi said the players took ownership for what wasn't working.

"I'll put my hand up with that, us forwards didn't really help the backs," Paasi said.

"They were rolling up the middle too fast and we were on the back foot from then on.

"We had a forwards meeting, telling each other to pick up our games and know that everything happens in the middle.

"So we needed to make those tackles, slow it down. It was good last weekend against the Titans that we got back into our mentality of defending, which we'd lacked for two weeks.

"We did it well against the Bulldogs, but then it slipped away for two weeks.

"But we delivered it on Friday against the Titans and we're hoping to do it again this weekend."

The Warriors are outsiders to defeat the Rabbitohs in the Sunshine Coast, with the TAB giving them little chance of winning.

However, the Rabbitohs were upset by the Sea Eagles last weekend as the team from Sydney's northern beaches showed that perhaps this Wayne Bennett coached side isn't as good as the hype around them.

Of course, for the Warriors to have a chance it's up to Paasi and the other forwards to win the battle against the Burgess brothers, Sam, Tom and George.

"It's a test," Paasi said.

"They're international players, but we've got a few international players ourselves.

"It's a good battle and a good test for us, I reckon they're the benchmark forwards and we need to come out with the best attitude. They're big and strong, so defensively we've got to do a good job this weekend."

Five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita will be playing his second NRL game on Saturday.

His predecessor, Adam Keighran, who also had a good debut, against the Bulldogs, but Harris-Tavita will be hoping that he's able to continue performing at a high level to retain his spot.

Keighran took steps backwards against the Tigers and Sea Eagles, but that wasn't surprising given how the forwards played.

Paasi said he hopes the same doesn't happen for Harris-Tavita.

"It was unfortunate for Adam," he said.

"We didn't help him much. It comes down to everyone in the middle doing their jobs, bringing their defensive mindset to the game each week.

"It starts from the beginning of the week, if we have a crap preparation, it ends up being a crap game."

The 27-year-old Paasi is one of the few senior players coming off contract at the end of the season.

While he's yet to hit the heights he was at last season, Paasi has become a key player at the Warriors and he says he does want to remain with the club.

"I've had a chat and I'm hoping to stay," he said.

"There are a few things to sort out and we'll go from there."

"I'm enjoying it here with the new bunch of boys and I'm keen on staying."

AT A GLANCE

Rabbitohs v Warriors

Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast

Kick off: Saturday, 8.10pm

Rabbitohs: Alex Johnston, Corey Allan, Kyle Turner, Dane Gagai, Campbell Graham, Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds, George Burgess, Damien Cook, Tom Burgess, John Sutton, Sam Burgess, Cameron Murray. Interchange (from): Junior Tatola, Mark Nicholls, Ethan Lowe, Liam Knight, Connor Tracey, Bayley Sironen, Rhys Kennedy, Jacob Gagan.

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, David Fusitu'a Peta Hiku, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Blake Green, Agnatius Paasi, Karl Lawton, Leeson Ah Mau, Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Lachlan Burr. Interchange (from): Jazz Tevaga, Isaiah Papali'i, Bunty Afoa, Sam Lisone, Ligi Sao, Gerard Beale, Adam Keighran, Issac Luke.

Back to the top ^

Related Articles (30)