It was almost a case of back to the drawing board for Warriors coach Stephen Kearney after Friday’s 24-12 loss to the Bulldogs in Dunedin.
The nominal visitors started well in both halves but weren’t able to capitalise on barrels of possession, eventually fading to a Bulldogs side that took their limited chances.
Kearney was disappointed with the way his side fell away in the second half.
“They got over the tryline a bit too easily for my liking so we’ll have to have a really good look at that and make sure we’re better next week,” Kearney said.
The Warriors’ left-hand edge was seized upon by the Bulldogs twice in 10 minutes, giving them a 10-6 halftime lead.
Wingers Brett Morris and Marcelo Montoya then capitalised on some shaky Warriors edge defending to secure their side’s first NRL win of the year.
When asked about what contributed to his side’s defensive flakiness at key moments, Kearney said it was too early to know for certain.
Yet while the Warriors’ defence wilted, it was their indecision in attack under the roof at Forsyth-Barr Stadium that would have surprised many.
In perfect conditions, the Warriors held all the ball and had the Bulldogs on their line for the opening 20 minutes of the first and second halves to no avail.
“We had enough opportunities – I don’t think we quite nailed them or quite executed as well as we would have liked,” Kearney said.
The Warriors will now look ahead to next week’s clash with the Dragons, and the potential return of troubled playmaker Kieran Foran to NRL action.
The ex-Kiwis five-eighth was cleared by the NRL to play for the Warriors against the Bulldogs, but he is yet to recover from a long-term shoulder injury.
Kearney was coy when asked about whether the 26-year-old Foran would be ready for his side’s trip to Sydney.
“We have to name 21 (men) on Tuesday afternoon so that’ll give you an indication of whether they’ll be there or thereabouts,” Kearney said.
“At this stage I can’t tell you – we’ll have to have a real good look at him next week.”