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Warriors' NRL collapse inexcusable: coach

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/03/2017 Angelo Riss

Warriors boss Stephen Kearney has conceded his NRL side failed to fire or adapt to Manu Vatuvei's injury. © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Warriors boss Stephen Kearney has conceded his NRL side failed to fire or adapt to Manu Vatuvei's injury. Warriors NRL coach Stephen Kearney says the loss of winger Manu Vatuvei to injury was no excuse for his side's 24-12 loss to Canterbury in Dunedin.

The 31-year-old Vatuvei aggravated a troublesome knee niggle in the first half in Otago and didn't return after the break, forcing Kearney to reshuffle his troops.

The extent of his latest setback remains unclear.

The nominal visitors started the better, scoring through Shaun Johnson in the 55th minute to nab a 12-10 lead.

But the Bulldogs scored an unanswered 14 points to seal a clinical first win of the NRL campaign after three rounds.

Kearney admitted his side's second-half showing was below standard, highlighted by too many easy points given away in defence.

"Obviously, there was a real arm-wrestle and I'm just really disappointed in the way we fell away in the second half," Kearney told reporters.

"We had to shuffle around which has happened in the last couple of weeks, but I think that's the nature of the game - no excuses."

Back-rower Bodene Thompson, who scored a first-half try and fed an inside pass to Johnson for the second, echoed Kearney's thoughts.

"If Manu's no good, we've just got to do a job for him and do those jobs right," Thompson said.

The Warriors failed to adjust to Vatuvei's departure, which forced David Fusitu'a out onto the wing and a switch in the centres.

The Warriors next face St George Illawarra in Sydney, potentially boosted by the return of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Kieran Foran's debut.

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