Warriors flogged after returning from break

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2013
Shaun Johnson
Getty Images
NURSING NIGGLES: Shaun Johnson was one of a number of Warriors players who benefitted from four days off training.

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The Warriors players weren't given much of a warm welcome back when they returned to Mt Smart Stadium on Friday.

After four days off, because of the bye this weekend, they were given a good, old fashioned flogging in a gruelling gym session as the long build-up starts for next Sunday's game against the Broncos.

So tough was it that at one point, when Konrad Hurrell was on a rowing machine a bucket had to be rushed to him for fear that he was about to take another look at that morning's breakfast.

"It was a tough session but we spared their legs today," Warriors coach Matt Elliott said.

"It was tough for them, but they'll recover from it quickly.

"We need to establish a precedent of intensity, which has probably really helped us over the last few weeks and today was about entrenching that attitude more than the physical benefits."

This may have been lost on the players as they hauled their weary bodies off the gym equipment, but there wasn't anyone complaining.

Four wins in a row has even got pundits in Australia talking about the Warriors, something that rarely happens.

But the way they have turned things around since their 62-6 loss to the Panthers a month ago, they deserve the accolades they're now getting.

"There needs to be a fair bit of credit dished out to the guys, because we didn't win the last two games on great execution," said Elliott.

"The key word for me against Manly was 'toughness' and the word last weekend was 'effort'.

"Our poor start to the season and those games where we didn't get the results we should have, mean that the last month has only put us into a position to see where we want to get to.

"We can see it, but we're not there yet. Essentially, all I've got to offer is words, but the players have understood and embraced what's needed and it's their words and efforts that have been the fundamental difference."

Despite the possibility of losing momentum, Elliott felt the timing was right for the Warriors to have their first bye of the season.

"If we had to use that much effort [against the Roosters] every time they'd all be 70kgs by the end of the season.

"Shaun [Johnson] and Feleti [Mateo] carried injuries into the game, Manu has got some lumps and bumps.

"The good thing for us is that Brisbane are having the bye at the same time so if there is any rust, they should be suffering it too, albeit that they'll have five players in their team that they didn't have last time.

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"We won't be playing a side remotely like we played in Brisbane and I dare say the mentality they'll be bringing with them will be pretty focused."

Over the past couple of weeks the Warriors have been linked to a number of young players like Glenn Riley at Warrington, Leeds' Jordan Baldwinson as well as a couple of players from Wigan.

Elliott confirmed that they have been looking at young English players.

"We have certainly spread our wings, but all of our significant recruitment is just about done," he said.

"If we bring anything in it will be into the under-20 set up and it's a bit of a partnership thing.

"It is something that has worked when you look at [Gareth] Widdop and the Burgess boys."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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