Elliott keen to shed Warriors' unpredictable tag

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2014
Sam Tomkins
Photosport
CLIMBING HIGH: Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins was secure under the high ball against the Cowboys on Saturday night.

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The Warriors enhanced their tag of being predictably unpredictable in their 20-16 win over the Cowboys on Saturday night and it's something their coach Matt Elliott wants to change.

Into his second season with the club, Elliott is fully aware his side loses matches they are expected to win, then when no-one gives them a chance they upset the odds with surprise victories.

This was expected to be the case against the Cowboys.

After being outplayed against the Eels and Dragons in the first two weeks, there wasn't much expected in Townsville.

Yet all the aggression, passion, energy and commitment that was lacking in those games was evident against the Cowboys. It was their first win in Townsville in 12 years and typical of the Warriors to win a game like this.

Elliott says he's aware that people have got used to them winning and losing when the opposite results are expected.

"Until we remove that tag we're going to have to live with it," Elliott said yesterday.

"It's obviously been around for a while and it's something we need to free ourselves of and there's only one way of doing that.

"I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with it, I'm just saying that people put labels on teams for certain reasons and we've got to get to the other side of that."

Two tries from Glen Fisiiahi and one each from Konrad Hurrell and Sione Lousi looked to have been enough to have the game locked up after 61 minutes. But the Cowboys got the momentum back and tries to Michael Morgan and Kyle Feldt set up a tense finish.

The Cowboys were unlucky when Feldt put a foot into touch when going for his second try, but the Warriors were their own worst enemies at times and during a frantic final seven minutes they made dumb errors trying to wind down the clock and gave away possession inside their half.

"In the last seven minutes we had some real game management issues," Elliott admitted.

"It's going to come down to us as a coaching staff to make sure we tell our team what to expect in those periods.

"To be fair to the team, we haven't gone through that process about kicking for touch and what plays are needed on last plays when you're right down on the try line.

"So there was some stuff there where we didn't manage the game the way we needed to.

"This is not about an individual, it's about us as a team making sure we understand game management."

After the loss at Eden Park in round two Elliott looked shell-shocked in the post-match press conference and questioned his players' will to compete.

Obviously, he was happier after the win in Townsville, but said he never stopped having faith in his players.

"One of the things that did get brushed over was that my belief in this group of players hadn't diminished through the first couple of rounds," he said.

"We've still got some work to do and we've still got some areas right across our performance that we're going to get better in.

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"At this stage we're happy, but we also realise that we've got a lot of work to cover."

Next up is the Wests Tigers in Wellington on Saturday.

- Fairfax Media

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