Warriors coach Andrew McFadden not panicking

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 17:36 20/08/2014
Ben Matulino
Getty Images
LINE BENDER: Ben Matulino moves back into the front row for the Warriors match against the Roosters on Sunday.

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The Warriors are sliding into territory where they must win every game to remain in the top eight, but there is no cause for panic, coach Andrew McFadden says.

The Auckland-based side, who will need to notch a win to remain in contention, comes off a 28-22 loss to the Knights and are expecting a bruising and physical encounter against a Roosters side stacked with Kiwis on Sunday afternoon.

The team had a light session today after returning from Newcastle on Monday and will have a full team session tomorrow.

McFadden said he needed to ''deload'' a few players in order for them to be at full flight on Sunday.

''We are going to have to train hard ... we are going to have to have some real intensity about our work and make sure we identify the areas we need to target which is the physical battle this week.''

McFadden said he was expecting a hard encounter.

''We brought Ben Matulino back into the front row [because] we identified that we probably didn't bend the line as much as we should have in the middle [against the Knights] and Ben certainly gives us that.''

Sebastine Ikahihifo, who has quickly become a dependable figure in the forwards, returns this week after a break. McFadden expected he would bring an extra dynamic.

''He is a tireless worker Sebastine. He is quite an awkward ball carrier as well. He needed the rest on the weekend but we are certainly happy to have him back in the side, he gives a different dynamic.''

The Warriors were also badly let down in goal kicking against the Knights with stand-in kicker Chad Townsend slotting just one from five opportunities.

McFadden could not confirm whether Shaun Johnson would return as goal kicker on Sunday.

''Obviously Shaun will have a lot of confidence getting through that game on the weekend. He obviously kicked a lot of balls.

''He certainly took the ball to the line a lot - I think he made ran 100m which for a halfback is pretty good. He is definitely a threat. He needed the run but he will be better this weekend.''

McFadden said his side was still confident with their position, with two home games (against the Roosters and Titans) and an away game (against the Panthers) to round out the regular season.

''We are still in the eight, it's still well within our control. We have just got to perform well and if we perform well we can turn it around very quickly.''

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When asked whether he felt opposing sides had worked out the Warriors lift and drive back defence plan, McFadden said he was not concerned.

''I'm sure oppositions are looking at a lot of parts of our game ... we have got to do some work on that this week, but we are confident we can fix that up pretty quickly.

''We are disappointed with our performance but we still know we have got enough strike and talent in this team to do something,we will just go back to what works for us."

- Stuff

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