Little change at Warriors despite record loss

17:00, May 21 2013
Kevin Locke
BACK IN ACTION: Kevin Locke has been named to return from a back injury but his fitness is still in question.

The fallout from the Warriors' hiding last weekend to the Penrith Panthers continues and the naming of a virtually unchanged team for Sunday's clash against the Newcastle Knights won't alter that.

Veteran league coach and administrator, Graham Lowe yesterday said the club's front office needed to step up, pointing the finger at CEO Wayne Scurrah, football manager Dean Bell and chairman Bill Wavish as three people who need to be held accountable for the team's current woes.

It is unlikely anyone will face the chop before the end of this season, but it is becoming increasingly clear what sort of mess the organisation has been in.

Warriors coach Matt Elliott can't be blamed for what happened before he arrived but his reluctance to make players accountable for poor performances may not go down well amongst their dwindling supporter base.

On TV on Sunday Elliott hinted at changes following their abysmal 62-6 loss to Penrith, but he has ended up making minimal alterations.

Despite it being the biggest loss in the club's 18-year history on Saturday, where it was the ex-Warriors players in the Panthers side that stood out the most, there are few players who faced the consequences, with just Glen Fisiahii and Carlos Tuimavave dropping out of the starting line-up.


They have been replaced by Kevin Locke at fullback and Dane Nielsen at centre respectively and those are two changes that would have been made regardless of what happened last weekend.

So Shaun Johnson, who faced the embarrassment of being yanked off the field on Saturday, keeps his spot and so too do a number of other key players who are continuing to underperform.

However, although Locke (back) and Nielsen (ribs) have been named, both are still under injury clouds and it's possible that neither will play against Newcastle on Sunday, meaning that the same 13 players could be running out to start the game again.

On Sunday the Warriors announced that Todd Lowrie would be out for three weeks with a rib injury, but he has been named to play lock once again. Like Locke and Nielsen it is questionable that he'll be fit for this weekend's game and if that's the case it's possible that Elijah Taylor will make the starting team.

Taylor is on an extended bench that also includes Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Ngani Laumape and Pita Godinet.

The chances of Elliott losing his job during the season are slim, but he can't afford for the team to have too many more outings like they did against the Panthers.

There needs to be signs that the team are going in the right direction and the pain of 2013 will be rewarded in 2014.

Elliott isn't shying away from the pressure on him or the mess that the team are in, but it's only as the season's going on that he's discovering just how deep rooted the team's issues are.

"The responsibility for a team performance lies with me, that's what I came here to do," Elliott told Radio Sport last night.

"The responsibility for individual performances lies with the players.

"If I don't take responsibility I can't do anything about it.

"The fault of this has perhaps been around a little longer than me and what we need to do is eradicate performances like this being a part of the terrain here at the Warriors."


Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Dane Nielsen, Ben Henry, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Russell Packer, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering, Todd Lowrie. Interchange: (from) Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Elijah Taylor, Carlos Tuimavave, Glen Fisiiahi, Ngani Laumape, Pita Godinet.