Following an ugly second-half collapse against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night, both the Warriors’ coach and captain suggested their side was lacking a desire to stay in the fight right now.
The Warriors led 10-8 at the break before leaking 24 straight points to lose 32-10, marking their eighth defeat in 12 games.
Skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said after giving up a try in the opening two minutes of the second half his side went missing.
“That’s exactly where most of our losses have happened. The results are pretty similar, we are in the fight throughout most of the 80 but come the back-end, it doesn’t go our way, the calls don’t go our way, and we just don’t fight back and we lose it then,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
“If we get scored on it’s about turning up again. Unfortunately, too many times now we can talk about ‘we are in the fight, we are in the fight’ but we just lose it.
“[It’s about] having a bit more of a hard attitude about us and trying to finish off.”
The Warriors had looked strong through the opening half hour in Auckland, scoring tries via Ken Maumalo and Kodi Nikorima to lead 10-2, while doing well to contain a Melbourne side who completed every one of their 18 sets in the first stanza.
But it was a different story in the second period, with the home side leaking four tries and missing 22 tackles in the final 40 minutes.
Coach Stephen Kearney was at a loss to explain the backflip.
“I didn’t picture what we produced in the second half. I didn’t see that coming; 24 unanswered points in the second half, it’s pretty disappointing,” Kearney said.
“I thought the first half obviously was a real competitive contest, but we just lacked when we came out after half-time.
“They rolled up the field really easily, put an attacking kick in and ended up getting the ball back to score early in the second half.
“It was disappointing because I just thought from that point on there was a real lack of digging our heels in and making it hard for them.
“At that stage the game was 14-10 and the game’s not beyond anyone.”
Kearney also pointed to his side’s struggle to defend their mistakes, and in particular sets following penalties.
“There are going to be penalties in the game, so we have to do a decent job in trying to defend them,” Kearney said.
“I thought there was a bit of that in the second half where we would give away a penalty around halfway and then allow them to get up in good ball, where they are a dangerous footy team.”
While it wasn’t a leading factor in the loss, the Warriors’ poor execution in attack was again on display in round 13.
It was the sixth time in 12 games that the Warriors have failed to register over 12 points in a game, and even when presented with a numerical advantage following Christian Welch’s sin-binning in the 56th minute, they couldn’t generate points.
Kearney said going through that period without any kind of result in attack had an impact on team morale.
“I think when that happens it builds a bit of frustration,” Kearney said.
“When you get presented with that sort of opportunity and you don’t get any result from it, then it does perpetuate and build on top of the frustration that was already there.”