Warriors must lift game again to beat Tigers

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 16:29 27/03/2014
Matt Elliot
CHRIS SKELTON/ Fairfax NZ
WARRIORS COACH: Matt Elliot is not taking the Tigers lightly.

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The Warriors have one win, and a bit of confidence under the belt but will face a difficult test against the resurgent Wests Tigers in Wellington on Saturday.

The team from Leichhardt Oval would be underestimated "at our own peril", Warriors' coach Matt Elliott said at the team's training in Auckland yesterday.

"They'll be coming for us, they'll be coming for us hard," Elliott said.

"If we don't handle their go forward then we are in for a far more challenging day than we had [in the win over the Cowboys]."

The vibe around the Warriors was much more vibrant yesterday, but the fact that a one-win, two-loss record could easily become a one-win, three-loss record on Saturday meant Elliott was circumspect.

"They are a high-energy footy team and we are going to have to be better than we were last week that's for sure."

It is the second time the Warriors have played a "home game" at Westpac Stadium.

Last year's game against the Bulldogs drew a crowd of more than 30,000 who watched the Warriors go down 24-16.

The Warriors and Wests Tigers have an equal share of wins in their 22-game history. The Warriors won the 2013 matchup 24-16 at Leichhardt Oval.

This year, though, the Tigers seem a team with claws. Having narrowly lost to the Dragons in round one, they have since posted good wins against the Titans and Rabbitohs.

They are a mixture of cool-headed experience and youthful exuberance and Elliott said it was no accident they were sitting pretty near the top of the competition.

Fullback James Tedesco would be a particular challenge and the Warriors' kicking game would need to step up a notch to get past him, Elliott said.

He also named prop Keith Galloway, centre Bodene Thompson and lock Adam Blair, who is a leader in the Tigers pack, and the "young kids - players who come on and make a massive difference," as threats to the Warriors.

The Warriors' were feeling buoyed by the return of Kiwi international Thomas Leuluai, who was sidelined by a groin injury during last year's World Cup.

Leuluai will start off the bench but his presence alone will have an impact

"It is just a really great reminder of how important he is to us," Elliott said.

Warriors captain Simon Mannering was not at training yesterday after coming down with an illness but would be fit come match time.

Charlie Gubb was given a run in his position yesterday.

Elliott said he was looking forward to playing in Wellington despite last year's loss.

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"But at the end of the day the footy pitch is the same size, it has got grass on it. The motivation is to go down to the capital and play our best footy."

- Fairfax Media

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