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Warriors fired up for Bulldogs clash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/06/2017

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. There'll be no lack of intensity or concentration when the Warriors return from their bye week to take on Canterbury in Auckland on Friday, coach Stephen Kearney says.

He's confident the Warriors can recapture the form which earned them their first victory of the season on the road two weeks ago, a 34-12 win over the Titans.

But Kearney acknowledges there's plenty of room for improvement, particularly given the way the Warriors tailed off towards the end against Gold Coast.

"The Titans scored a couple of tries off the back end of sets," Kearney said.

"Fifty per cent of their tries came from kicks or the last play, and we looked at that pretty closely during the week.

"I thought we didn't do a good enough job on that."

Both the Warriors (11th) and the Bulldogs (12th) are looking to work their way up the ladder, and Kearney has no doubt Canterbury, also coming off a bye, will present a huge challenge.

"They've always been a tough footy club, and they're a team with tough individuals, the likes of James Graham, David Klemmer, Aiden Toman and the Morris brothers.

"We keep mentioning consistency in our process and how we go about things - we're pretty clear about what works for us, and it's about making sure we prepare to perform that way on Friday."

Kearney is happy with the way his forward pack has developed since the Warriors' early season 24-12 loss to Canterbury in Dunedin.

"We've got some pretty handy guys at the back who do a good job of getting us out of the back field,'' he said.

"The forwards' role is to get the team into position so we can pull the trigger when we need to. They do a pretty good job of it most of the time."

The Warriors will be missing back Solomone Kata, who has returned to Tonga on bereavement leave following his brother's death.

He'll be replaced by David Fusitu'a, who shifts in one place from the wing where Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has been recalled for his fifth first-grade appearance.

Warriors playmaker Kieran Foran, who signed a three-year deal with the Bulldogs in May, has a question mark after his name as he recovers from a quad muscle injury sustained in the win over Gold Coast.

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