Is there really no-one else for Stephen Kearney to turn to?

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    Warriors coach Stephen Kearney revealed he was tempted to drop more players but conceded there were no better options to choose from the club’s reserve grade Intrust Super Premiership side.

    The ISP side will be the only team from the struggling club to play finals football in 2017.

    “If I thought there were better options I’d certainly make those changes, so there’s a couple of lads that are lucky,” he said.

    The comments from Kearney will strike a massive blow to the club culture and morale, with several ISP players obviously aiming to take the step up to first grade to further their rugby league careers.

    It now seems, despite contributing to a successful season, any such member of the ISP squad will have to look for their opportunities at other NRL clubs in Australia or further afield in the English Super League.

    This is a crushing blow as the first grade side continues to perform below NRL standard.

    The previously successful under 20s side is also at the bottom of the Holden Cup ladder.

    These are tough times for the club, especially after a new dawn was promised with major signings this season and the addition of former New Zeland coach Kearney.

    With four games remaining and nothing to play for but pride and respect, the Warriors are in grave danger of not registering another win.

    Kearney was quizzed on whether star halfback Shaun Johnson could return before the season’s end. Cryptically he offered this to the surrounding media:

    “I’m not going to say [if he’s been running]. He’s close. He’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

    Shaun Johnson running with football

    (AAP Image/David Rowland)

    Despite the form and results, Kearney continues to believe in his ‘process’ but having lost five straight matches the Warriors do find themselves in that very dark place.

    Kearney went on to further state:

    “As I have said all along, if I think there’s an opportunity where someone can do a job, which I think is going to be better this week, then I’ll make necessary changes.”

    The Warriors will have to be a great deal better this week as they prepare to face Ricky Stuart’s revived Raiders.

    Determined to claim a place in the top eight, the Raiders will offer a very tough opposition as they comprehensively beat the reigning premiers Cronulla last week.

    That win against the Sharks came on the same day the Warriors had no answers for the 16th-placed Newcastle Knights.

    If the Raiders are to continue their late season surge and account for the Warriors, more answers will be needed from Kearney, not only to the fans but most probably club owner Eric Watson as well.