2018 PREVIEW 🔍 Perennial underachievers? Our fifteenth preview is here. Andrew Ferguson assesses whe...
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The New Zealand Warriors have played near flawless football in the last two weeks but coach Daniel Anderson believes there is still room for improvement as the NRL club prepares to take on the Roosters this weekend. With the scalps of the Bulldogs and Brisbane in succession, the Warriors have been in scintillating form, their forward pack dominating and backs racking up big points.
Now with the finals only three games away, Anderson today said the one thing left for the team to develop was attacking poise.
"(Last week) we were a little bit rushed, a little overexcited inside the Broncos' 20 metre line," he said of the 18-4 victory.
"I think if we can compose ourselves a little bit more we can take our opportunities."
"It's a very different story for the Roosters, who have struggled against the best teams this year, recording only one victory over a top four team all year (a round 22 defeat of Brisbane).
Roosters coach Ricky Stuart knows if the Bondi Junction based club is to be considered a premiership contender, then Sunday's game is a must win.
"The Warriors are a big, powerful side with a lot of speed so if you are not on your day ... it's a big task but we are looking forward to the challenge and it will give us a guide on how we are going," Stuart said.
Stuart said his forward pack, derided in recent years as "soft", had the necessary intensity to blunt the Warriors.
"We have a big pack - I'm very happy with the display they have put on the field this year," Stuart said.
"Over the years they have been called a soft pack but I think the guys this year have shown that is really not true."
The Warriors are currently second behind the beleaguered Bulldogs, but with talk that the Canterbury-based team could be chucked out of the competition because of salary cap breaches, Anderson wasn't dwelling on the possibility of finishing minor premiers.
"It makes no difference to us what happens," he said.
"We have played well the last three weeks and we want to continue that form and momentum going into the playoffs, and whatever the NRL does it's got nothing to do with us."
Roosters captain Brad Fittler also refused to comment on the controversy, but did say he felt sorry for Braith Anasta, the player at the centre of the scandal.
"As a bloke he's so young and had so much positive feedback in his career so far and to have this thrown at him is pretty harsh I think. Pretty tough to handle," Fittler said.
Earlier this season Penrith coach John Lang said the Warriors couldn't win in the comp, and now Stuart just wishes Lang had shut up.
"It's easy for John Lang to say that - he doesn't have to face up to them at semi finals time," Stuart said.
"The Warriors have shown right throughout the season that they can mix it with any team and they showed on the weekend they can beat the Broncos and I think the Broncos are the best team in the comp."