A gutsy defensive display in Friday's 20-12 win over the Knights, epitomised by a pair of late try-saving tackles, has Warriors coach Andrew Webster convinced a more resilient mindset is becoming a trait of his side.
The way in which the Warriors responded to adversity was a frequently cited issue last year as they limped to a 15th-place finish, and it was among the areas Webster was most eager to improve after taking charge of the club for 2023.
The first-time NRL head coach said he was most proud of watching his side survive long periods camped on their own line as they clung to a 14-12 lead in the final 15 minutes, which included brilliant try-saving tackles from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad on Kalyn Ponga, followed by Edward Kosi and Adam Pompey on Hymel Hunt minutes later.
These Warriors can defend
"There were three big chunks of resilience we had to have tonight. I was really proud of that, and I was proud of how we dug in and defended our line," Webster said.
I think we did it in the trial against Melbourne, so it’s not a fluke, it’s not something we are just bringing out for Round 1. It looks like if we keep going it's going to be our DNA.Andrew Webster
While full of praise for the individual defensive plays which helped see his side to victory, Webster said they didn't come as a surprise to him.
"Those guys have done that sort of stuff all pre-season. Ed Kosi has got himself in positions to save tries, he’s probably been one of the best at it," he said.
"Charnze is just a competitor for 80 minutes. Talk about resilience, he drops a ball on the first set and then bounces back to be one of the best players on the field."
After spilling the opening attacking kick of the game from the Knights, which led to the visitors scoring in the first two minutes, Nicoll-Klokstad scored a second-half try and produced several key defensive interventions, including his brilliant effort to hold Ponga up over the line.
Charnze take a bow
"I knew I'd held him up. He was saying 'try' but I was telling him ‘na bro, I held you up'," Nicoll-Klokstad said.
"He’s a strong boy, so it was just about trying to wrap up the ball and don’t let him get it over the grass.
"[Those types of plays] are massive. We want to build our game off defence and defence is going to win us games.
"I hope we made our coach proud."