Todd Payten has affirmed his belief that the Warriors have "the bones of a really strong club" after they once again showed the resilience that he is instilling in the side in his short stint as interim coach.
The Warriors lost 16-12 to the Titans on the Gold Coast and while Peyten said he was disappointed with the sting going out of the Warriors after they led 12-0, they still hung tough.
Interim coach Payten said he would play "a straight bat" when asked why he thought he was the man to take over as head coach in the wake of Stephen Kearney’s sacking.
He is a contender along with other mooted candidates such as Geoff Toovey, Nathan Brown and Shaun Wane.
"The club has been clear that they are going to the open market. I have an ambition to be a head coach, whether it is here or somewhere else my time will come," Payten said.
Match Highlights: Titans v Warriors
"I have always believed in the fellas. I believe in the club. It is full of good people who are really passionate about the club going in the right direction and passionate about New Zealand rugby league.
"It has got the bones of a really strong club. It is something that we have to work on. I don’t think it will take a lot of time. What everyone aspires to, I think we have got the foundation of it right.”
The Warriors have shown plenty of defensive clout and desire in the past fortnight with a stunning comeback win over the Broncos and then losing in the dying minutes against the Titans.
Aside from improving what had previously been a leaky defence, Payten said the team had played recently with great pride while based in Australia away from family and friends.
"I have been hard on them in terms of effort and what is required. They need to work hard for the bloke beside them. I have put a big emphasis on performing for everyone back home and I think they have taken that on board," he said.
"The boys are in good spirits, working hard and enjoying each other’s company. I can see us coming out the other side a better team.”
The coach reiterated that Ken Maumalo, David Fusitu’a, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa were set to return to New Zealand after the clash with Cronulla next week.
Tuivasa-Sheck straight back into the thick of it
They have not been able to get their respective families to Australia due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions since the squad relocated to Australia in May.
"I have given them my word if we don’t have a clear outcome from the government and the NRL they can go home," Payten said.
"At the end of the day, for the reasons they have to go back… they have to go. I asked them to commit until after the Sharks game and they gave me that commitment.
"There is a bit of clarity for us. We have got our heads around the fact that we aren’t going home with everything that is happening in Victoria and more outbreaks. You saw that in the performance and the effort tonight.
"For large parts we did show some defensive resolve whereas a month ago we would have leaked plenty of points, so I am pleased with the improvements we have made there particularly with our defensive structures."
Peyton didn’t agree with the call by the Bunker to disallow a try to Jack Hetherington when he was ruled to have interfered with Jamal Fogarty in the lead-up. The Warriors also lost the penalty count 5-0 but they did not bow their heads.
"Say a month ago, if something happened against us we would fall to pieces," Payten said.
"Tonight we showed resilience and fought hard but we weren’t good enough in those [key] moments."