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The NZ Warriors are tipped to toughen up for next season?s NRL, and a former North Queensland player will have a lot to do with it.
Former Cowboys forward Kevin Campion won?t be on the field, but he?s calling the shots as the club?s defensive co-ordinator and already he?s positive about what he sees after about a month of pre-season training.
??I?ve had about a month over here already and the boys have been training hard,?? he said from Auckland yesterday.
??I can?t fault how enthusiastic they are.??
Critics found plenty of fault in the Warriors? defence last season, as they fell to second-last in the premiership and failed to deliver with what looked like a fine attacking machine.
??They?ve got all the attacking ability in the world, but if you can?t stop the opposition you can?t win games,?? Campion said.
??Everyone in the league world thinks it?s a hard job I?ve taken on, but it?s simple, really.
??Fitness come first, then they?ve got to have a proper defensive strategy.??
Campion was critical of the Warriors? match fitness early last season, which saw them struggling to keep up with other teams and then having to work hard playing ??catch-up?? later.
He predicted the Warriors would be a much tougher opponent next season fitness-wise, and through several important off-season buys.
These include the captain of premiers Bulldogs, Steve Price, Canberra forward Reuben Wikki, Cowboys half Nathan Fien and the Roosters? Todd Byrne.
??They will get some maturity into the side as well, it?s something they?ve been lacking as they?ve been relying on young kids.
??With some older heads like this, we?ll be doing well next year.??