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The New Zealand Warriors bench.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has implored his players to have a good, long, hard look at themselves with just a fortnight of football left to end their season.

A lacklustre performance against the Sharks at PointsBet Stadium led to a 42-16 win by Cronulla. It was the third time the Warriors had conceded 40 points in the past month. They lost 46-12 in round 20 to the Raiders and 42-6 to the Roosters last weekend.

And it doesn't get any easier with the Warriors hosting the Rabbitohs next Friday  before they travel back across the Tasman to Canberra to face the Raiders at GIO Stadium in round 25. 

"There's a bit of soul searching in the shed at the minute. We go home this week and my message to the boys is 'How do we want to finish off the year?'," Kearney said.

"The last three to four weeks hasn't been good enough. So what are we going to do about it? That's the challenge for us.

"It's been a pretty challenging couple of weeks to be honest," said Kearney, whose team has now won only one game from their past five. That was after they had three wins and a draw from their previous five games.

"It's been frustrating with the real lack of belief and lack of resilience in the group at the moment."

Match Highlights: Sharks v Warriors

Before the round 20 demolition at the hands of Canberra the Warriors seemed on a pretty straight path to the finals. But they have lost their way since.

"I'm really disappointed today. I thought there were some very ordinary tries scored. We just made it to hard for ourselves. We tried to get back into the contest but handed the ball back to them, or made an error or penalty.

"To me that tells me we're not prepared to dig in for a real arm wrestle. The truth of the matter is that is what the game is about."

The Warriors stayed in Sydney after the Roosters game at the SCG to reduce travel time. Kearney took his players to Manly for a few days for a change of scenery to see if that might help lift team spirits.

"Maybe they had too good a time," he said.

"We head back to Auckland tomorrow. I believe the players have got it in them," Kearney said of their ability to bounce back.

"It's just making sure we are consistently working towards being better, being more resilient and understanding what works for us.

"We came up with plays today that weren't really the right plays for the time. That put us under pressure.

"So the focus, if I'm honest, from the past three to four weeks will be defence. The reality is you can't hide away in this competition and think it's just going to happen.

"So that is the primary focus for us this week."

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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