Warriors coach Nathan Brown has identified signs in last weekend’s loss to Sydney Roosters that indicate his players lack belief against the NRL’s top sides and challenged them to find their “killer mode” against Manly on Friday night.
Forward Jazz Tevaga, who admitted he was “pissed off” with Roosters lock Victor Radley over a hip drop that has left him nursing an ankle injury, revealed that Brown had outlined his concerns to the Warriors players at a video review session.
Tevaga said Brown had showed them footage comparing their body language and structure in wins against the Titans and Raiders with the disappointing 32-12 loss to the Roosters at the SCG.
“Brownie just touched on us believing in ourselves,” Tevaga said.
“He didn’t think we believed in ourselves and he showed certain clips from the week before where we were going after the Raiders, and then he showed the clips from this week and they weren’t identical pictures.
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“It was evident in the way we were playing that we weren’t going after them and there was a lack of belief there. In the past when we played the Titans and Raiders we did go after them.
“Watching the tape back, late in the second half it showed with the enthusiasm they played with compared to us. I just think we lacked a bit of intent and hunger to go after them.”
Brown said the body language of his players and the way they played after losing prop Addin Fonua-Blake in the first half indicated a lack of belief and confidence against the 2018-19 premiers.
“Looking back, and with what he said in terms of belief, I can see it in that second half,” Tevaga said.
“There wasn’t line-speed in our defence, we just weren’t getting up. We weren’t in a straight line, it was diagonal. There were a lot of step backs. Our middles weren’t going after their middles with line-speed and aggression. We weren’t winning the tackles in the ruck. It was heaps of little things like that.
“We just lost to the Knights, and we should have won that game, and against the Raiders and the Titans we were doing those things but to compete with the top teams we have got to be on our A-game all of the time.
“I think we just need to switch our mindsets and show them respect but at the same time go after them. Brownie uses the saying ‘killer mode’, so we need to lock into that ‘killer mode’ and go after them.”
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After starting the first two matches of the season from the interchange, Tevaga appears to have secured the lock position and he said his job was to bring energy and drive aggression from the outset.
With Fonua-Blake sidelined by a knee injury and fellow prop Bunty Afoa suspended, Tevaga will take on added responsibility against the Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium on Friday night.
“I took it real personal on the weekend in the review because I feel like I drive the aggression and the physicality so I have got a big job this week to back it up against Manly,” he said.
“I think that when I start we start with a better mindset from the way I play. Even when I come off the bench I feel like I bring a lot of energy with my leg speed and line-speed so wherever Brownie puts me I just do my job.
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“I feel like the more I get used to the speed of the game and the more minutes I get in the middle the better my game will be, using my feet around the ruck and ball playing with the big boys.”
Tevaga suffered an ankle injury in a tackle which led to Radley being booked for grade one dangerous contact and fined $1800 after unsuccessfully challenging the charge at Tuesday night’s judiciary hearing.
“Radley just did one of those hip drops on my ankle. It was a little bit sore but I’ll be sweet to strap it up and I will be good to go,” he said.
“I was a bit pissed off at the time but Radley is a good fellow and it was his first game back so I let him off about it.”