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Warriors stay focused ahead of Eels clash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/04/2017

Head Coach Stephen Kearney and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors talk to the media. © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Head Coach Stephen Kearney and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors talk to the media.

As far as the Warriors are concerned, Sunday's match against the Parramatta Eels at Mt Smart Stadium is just another NRL fixture.

It's one they desperately need to win, to be sure, as they look to build momentum following last weekend's last-gasp 28-22 win over Gold Coast in Auckland.

Sitting 13th on the ladder, the Warriors have a similar patchy record to the 10th-placed Eels with two wins from five starts.

The two teams also share some recent history, with coach Stephen Kearney and playmaker Kieran Foran both having spent time at Parramatta.

Kearney's connection ended more than four years ago when he resigned in mid-2012 after two seasons as coach and with more than a year to run on his contract.

Foran's finished last July when he was released by the Eels to allow him to sort out personal problems.

He arrived at the Warriors in the off-season on a one-year deal, playing his first game in 10 months last week against the Titans.

Kearney had a terse two-word response to questions at training this week as to whether the Parramatta factor might come into play on Saturday.

"It won't."

His focus is centred more on halting the lapses in concentration which have proven costly for the Warriors so far this season.

Kearney said the Warriors looked "flustered and shell-shocked" at times in their match against the Titans, twice conceding two quick tries in the first half to trail 22-12 at the break.

"I'm not really concerned about Parramatta - it's about making sure we fix the areas we weren't so good at last week," he said.

"For us, it's about making sure the detail in our defensive work is spot on because the side we're playing this week, they've got some real strike in their team."

Skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck agrees there's plenty of clarity around where the Warriors need to improve, particularly defensively.

Against the Eels, he says, communication will be key across the full 80 minutes.

"With their tries through the middle and their offloads, just holding our line and being a bit more competitive in the line, that'll help us.

"Everyone knows the issues - we just need a better start and we need to be more aware."

Tuivasa-Sheck says Foran and Shaun Johnson's combination in the halves had taken some of the pressure off his captaincy, providing genuine options on both sides of the ruck.

"I'm just in there doing what I do and everyone's just stepping up and taking control.

"Foz (Foran) has got the left edge, Shaun's got the right edge - everyone's just doing their role."

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