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Kearney keeps faith in face of back-to-back drubbings

Even after copping back-to-back heavy losses at the hands of the Roosters and Sharks, Stephen Kearney said his belief in his players remains strong and he didn't consider making wholesale changes this week.

The Warriors have conceded a combined 84 points in the past fortnight to crash out of finals contention but Blake Ayshford is the only player set to lose his place in the 17 for Friday night's match against the Rabbitohs in Auckland, with Ligi Sao joining the interchange.

There is a positional tweak as well which sees Kodi Nikorima revert back to five-eighth and Chanel Harris-Tavita drop to the bench.

"In terms of making changes, it's the same group of players that put in a great performance against a top-four side in Manly [in round 22], so I know what they are capable of, they've just taken a bit of a whack in confidence," Kearney said.

"I have confidence in them that we will bounce back this week.

"We have come up against quality opposition and the truth of the matter is we aren't where we need to be but I'm not saying we're not capable of it.

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"I'm not going to single out individuals, we have done that in our review and made individuals accountable for performance."  

Experienced forward Adam Blair admitted the run of heavy defeats had delivered a crushing blow to morale.

"It's been tough, the boys were down... we most probably have taken a dent in our belief as a group," Blair said.

"When you're getting beaten up by 40 points two weeks in a row it's quite hard to keep believing in what you're doing individually and as a group.

"If we can sort out the defensive stuff I think we can build confidence in the group."

Last week's loss to the Sharks came after Warriors chief executive Cameron George publicly questioned the effort of some players and threatened to consider terminating contracts if he didn't see improvement.

The comments were in return criticised by Kearney, who said it wasn't George's place to comment on football matters.

While lamenting the spat playing out in the public arena, Kearney said this week that he and George remain "150 per cent" on the same page.

"When you look back [it's regrettable it was done in the media], but it's happened, we've moved on and there's no drama," Kearney said.

"Cameron tells it how it is sometimes and that's the way we both operate.

"There's a mutual respect [with us] for each other's passion and what we want for our footy club."

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Meanwhile, Kearney said he will decide after Thursday's captain's run whether halfback Blake Green and prop Leeson Ah Mau will take the field against the Rabbitohs, with both playing only limited roles at training this week.

"Greeny twisted his knee on Saturday… he didn't participate in the contact side of things on Tuesday," Kearney said.

"Leeson left the field Tuesday, he had a bit of a sore knee that didn't get movement.

"We anticipate he's going to be OK. He hasn't missed a game this year and he gets through a fair bit of work and doesn't ask for a day off training… so I reckon he's probably feeling a bit weary."

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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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