Must-win for wobbly Warriors against Knights
IT MIGHT seem strange to say a game against the last-placed Newcastle Knights is the biggest the Warriors will have played this season.
This New Zealand team is stacked with power, skill and talent, and coming off a big win last-start against the Brisbane Broncos taking on a team that would struggle to win a pub chook raffle.
But that's just the point.
If the Warriors, who showed their true colours against Brisbane, can't cross the Tasman and take care of Newcastle, which has just one win from 13 games this season, then they can't seriously be considered finals material or a chance to win their first premiership.
Newcastle will put up some resistance at home, but if the Warriors produce the kind of committed forward play as they did last week and hooker Issac Luke and halfback Shaun Johnson run the show off the back of that they should be took good.
Luke's directness against Brisbane and Johnson's willingness to take to the ball to the line made all the difference to the Warriors' attitude.
It allowed young fullback Tuimoala Lolohea the space to use his brilliant footwork and speed and bulldozing centre Solomone Carter to create havoc out wide.
Somehow Newcastle, which is 1-3 at home, has to unsettle the Warriors from the jump, otherwise they may be on the end of an embarrassing scoreline now that the Kiwi side has found some form and confidence.
Tariq Sims, Pauli Pauli and Kiwi international Jeremy Smith will have to be prepared to take a pounding if Trent Hodkinson is going to get enough room to try and create something for the likes of Queensland Origin star Dane Gagai, Nathan Ross and Jake Mamo.
But if the Warriors get rolling as they did against Brisbane, when they got out to an 18-6 lead, it could be a rough time for the Knights, who desperately need some premiership points to get off the bottom of the ladder when Parramatta lose 12 points for salary cap rorting.