The Warriors were well beaten by a clinical Melbourne side in wet weather at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night. The Warriors competed at times, especially in the first half, overall, there are more concerns than positives for the side.
They were unlucky to lose captain Roger Tuivasa Sheck to a concussion early in the match, however, the response from coach Kearney to move Tui Lolohea to fullback ahead of David Fusitua was surprising. Lolohea has found favour with successive Warriors coaches despite running hot and cold throughout his time in first grade. Fusitua is in good form and moving him to fullback would have ensured he was more involved in the game, they also would have benefitted from his bigger build.
The Warriors are going to have to address the lack of go forward from their props. The only real solution is to bring James Gavet on to the bench and use Sam Lisone in the back row. The inability to bend the lines means the back row mix cannot be limited to Mannering, Afoa, Hoffman and Thomson. Mannering should still play 80 minutes, but fewer minutes shared between the remainder of this group will hopefully result in a higher output from this group, as well as Lisone’s extra punch.
Ata Hingano has made a very positive start to his Warriors career, with some suggesting he deserves to hold his place even when Foran is available. Unfortunately for Ata the side has lacked organisation, Shaun Johnson and Isaac Luke have not been directing the team around the park like they should be. This means the Warriors are crying out for Foran’s leadership and set management, as soon as he is available the unlucky Hingano will go back to reserve grade.
This is a Warriors side full of both potential and inexperience. Stephen Kearney must adjust quickly and find a way to get more out of his squad. If there is not a significant improvement shortly pressure will mount, not only on the coach but also the club's senior players.