Elliott gives Warriors players more responsibility

Last updated 05:00 07/03/2014
Matt Elliott

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Warriors coach Matt Elliott has put the onus on his players for their season opening game against the Eels in Parramatta on Sunday night.

At the end of last year's miserable campaign Elliott sat down with senior players at the club to ask them what they wanted to change for this season, the answer he got back was that they wanted more of a say in things ranging from travelling to game plans.

Elliott, who is in the last season of his two-year deal with the club, took this on board and he expects the results of this to be fruitful.

"We've worked on a lot of stuff during the preseason," Elliott said.

"We've committed ourselves to some processes and the key is to stay in those processes and believe that they're going to work for us, because of the amount of work we're putting into it."

The Warriors haven't won their first game of the season since 2009, when they coincidently beat the Eels 26-18.

Last year they again started off the season by playing the Eels and got smashed 40-10, a result that was made to look much worse as the year went on as it became apparent just how appalling that Eels side was.

Surely, it's time for the Warriors to kick off their campaign with a "W" next to their name again.

"People are always going to talk about wanting a positive start to the season and how important it is, well, it's important to 16 teams," Elliott said.

"What's important for us as a unit is that we execute what we talk about and believe that the result will look after itself.

"I've been convinced, the players have been highly engaged in what we've developed over this pre-season, they've driven a lot of it and they've convinced me that if we do that repeatedly, we'll create opportunities in both attack and defence."

One of the most notable selection decisions for this opening game is the picking of Carlos Tuimavave over Konrad Hurrell at centre.

Hurrell is a fan favourite and a genuine try scoring threat whenever he gets the ball, but Elliott said he couldn't ignore how well Tuimavave has done in the pre-season.

"Last game (against the Broncos) he put tries on for his winger and scored one for himself," Elliott said of Tuimavave.

"He didn't miss a tackle and they got tested a few times. He stole the march on Konrad, so it was a tough call on Konrad, but that's what we're doing here, if you're playing best and you earn your spot, someone's got to play better than you to take it off you. Hopefully that internal pressure remains."

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Hurrell is believed to have taken the news of being dropped not too badly. He will play for the reserve grade team against Wentworthville Magpies tomorrow, along with a number of other players who would have hoped to have made it into the team to face the Eels.

"It's not just Konrad, it's Ngani Laumape as well," Elliott said.

"David Fusitua, how unlucky is he not to be in the team?

"I guess Manu [Vatuvei] deserves that bit of slack, but it's only a little bit, those guys are coming for him.

"Konrad has been great, he understands and the expectation for him is to get back for round two.

"If he's not back by round two he's got to push for round three, but there are other people wearing that jersey at the moment and they have a different opinion of that.

"Carlos and Dane say it's their shirts and they want to play well enough to keep it."

Meanwhile, Elliott said he hoped Thomas Leuluai would be back playing again in three to four weeks but said it was unclear when Kevin Locke would play again. The fullback has a partial tear to his ACL, he gets another scan next week and the club hope to know more about his situation then.

- Fairfax Media

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