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Diabolical NRL away form torments Warriors

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017 Angelo Risso

The Warriors' woes on the road stem from a mental block and aren't a result of frequent travel, coach Stephen Kearney says. © Phil Walter/Getty Images The Warriors' woes on the road stem from a mental block and aren't a result of frequent travel, coach Stephen Kearney says. The Warriors' woes on the road stem from a mental block and aren't a result of frequent travel, coach Stephen Kearney says.

Kearney's troops are winless away from Mount Smart Stadium in 2017, with four losses in Australia and dour defeats in Dunedin and Hamilton.

They have won just seven games in Australia since 2015 - a record Kearney admits must quickly improve for any shot at finals football.

But he told reporters on Tuesday that, in his mind, the side's NRL away form wasn't a major issue and could be simply rectified by mental focus.

If they fall against the Eels on Friday night in Sydney, it won't be because of their three-hour flight across the ditch.

"For me, we talk about it and make it an issue, and then it becomes an issue - that's the reality of our circumstance," Kearney said.

"It's just about making sure we bring the right attitude."

Veteran back rower Ryan Hoffman concurred, but admitted a full day of travel was more draining than a one-hour flight from Melbourne or Brisbane to Sydney.

The 33-year-old, who will depart the Warriors at the end of the season, said the responsibility fell on players to get their pre-match preparation right.

That included diet, training, rest and ensuring the body was in tip-top shape.

"Being in a different environment, sometimes you need to adjust things in your preparation - we've spoken about it as a group and about making sure that, individually, we're doing everything we can," Hoffman said.

"New Zealand and Australia aren't getting closer together.

"It's just a reality of what the Warriors have to face - that's what it is, and I don't think we're using it as an excuse."

The Eels, fresh off a win over the Rabbitohs, have named a near-full strength squad for their home clash but will miss injured playmaker Corey Norman.

The newly-signed Mitchell Moses will be paired with Clint Gutherson in Norman's absence, while Bevan French and Semi Radradra will start.

Hoffman said the Eels, who fell to the Warriors 22-10 in Auckland in early April, would be a major challenge for his side.

"They certainly looked at their best when they played the Bunnies," he said.

"We played them six or something weeks ago, certainly teams have improved, are more battle-hardened - they're going to be competitive."

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