Warriors close to sealing NRL finals spot

Warriors linchpin Blake Green hopes a fortnight on Australia soil allows the side to click as they begin to ponder a return to the NRL finals.

The New Zealand-based Warriors have cooled since the veteran five-eighth helped them to a hot 5-0 start to the season.

They sit eighth but on Sunday can go three wins clear of ninth-placed West Tigers with five rounds to play, by continuing their staggering run of dominance over the Titans – who they’ve beaten 14 times in their past 15 clashes.

The Warriors will remain in the country until their round 21 clash with St George Illawarra and a good fortnight should all but assure them their first finals campaign since 2011.

But they will again be undermanned after key pair Issac Luke (calf) and Tohu Harris (knee) were ruled out on Friday.

Neither arrived with the team but are expected to be healthy to play the Dragons.

Green (ribs) will return though and the eight-club journeyman saw enough in their frustrating 12-6 loss to Melbourne from the stands to give him confidence.

“You don’t get that experience unless you play in close games, and there aren’t that many close games in the NRL,” he said.

“Like, 12-6, you don’t always get that high quality type of game.

“It was a good experience for our boys to see what that feels like and I’m sure we’ll be better next time we’re in that situation.”

Coach Stephen Kearney was reluctant to look beyond Sunday’s clash with the Titans.

But Green knows the next few weeks will be crucial as they aim to finish the regular season as they started it.

“We’ve got two weeks on the road … we’re not coming back,” he said of their Australian mini-break.

“It’s just about spending some time together and putting all our energy into the next two weeks – the little block that we’ve got away.

“We’ll reassess after that.”

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Warriors have won the past six, 14 of the past 15 and the past seven at Robina against the Titans.

* The Titans are conceding the most linebreaks (6.1 per game) and the Warriors the second most (4.7) this season.

* The combined right side of the Warriors has scored the most tries of any NRL team this season.

 

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