Kearney fears for fading Warriors in NRL

The Warriors defensive woes were evident again as they conceded 42 points against Cronulla.
The Warriors defensive woes were evident again as they conceded 42 points against Cronulla.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney admits things may not get better in the final two weeks of the NRL season after his side crashed to a fourth loss in five games to bow out of the finals race.

A gritty win over the Sea Eagles in round 21 gave fans a glimmer of hope, but consecutive defensive fade outs have crippled their top eight ambitions, with the Warriors heading home licking their wounds following a 42-16 loss to Cronulla.

It is the first time in the club's history they have lost back-to-back games in Australia following a 42-6 thumping by the Roosters last weekend.

"It's been a pretty challenging couple of weeks, to be honest. It's really frustrating because there's a lack of belief and a lack of resilience in the group at the moment," Kearney admitted.

"We just made it really difficult for ourselves, and to me that tells me that we're not prepared to dig in for the arm wrestle. The truth of the matter is that's what the game is about.

"There's a bit of soul searching in the sheds at the minute. The message to the boys is 'How do we want to finish off the year?'

"Three of the last four weeks haven't been good enough so what are we going to do about it? That's the challenge for us."

The 13th-placed Warriors missed 50 tackles at PointsBet Stadium and their predicament shouldn't get any easier with heavyweights South Sydney and Canberra left on the schedule.

Kearney said consistency was what separated the good teams from the rest of the competition, and conceded his team was yet to nail that simple part of the contest.

"There are three or four teams who are pretty good at it. Two of them have been really good at it for 10 years and the remainder of us are trying to work towards that," he said, referencing the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters as the benchmark.

"When it got a little too challenging, I thought it was too soft some of the points the Sharks scored today.

"I believe they've got it in them - it's a matter of us consistently working towards being better, being more resilient and understanding what works for us."

Australian Associated Press