NRL 2019: Stephen Kearney insists Warriors will get better after commanding Panthers win

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney isn't getting too carried away after side's 30-10 win over the Penrith Panthers on Friday night.

The Warriors recorded back-to-back wins for the first time in 2019, as they took full advantage of a lacklustre Panthers outfit at the foot of the Blue Mountains, outscoring them four tries to two.

Earlier in the week, Kearney described Panthers Stadium as a "hornets' nest" as the Warriors have notoriously struggled there over the years, with their last win at the venue in 2012 - so he was pleased.

He knows the 20-point win was by no means a perfect performance, but it's given him plenty to build on as they sit two points outside the top eight.

"I touched on it early in the week, the potential was we were walking into a hornets' nest," Kearney said.

"We were in a very similar position two weeks ago. I'm not saying we're out of that position. There was a bit of coverage of it, so it was really important we came and focused on our tasks. I thought we did that tonight early.

"But I thought we could've been better. I thought before halftime we probably didn't do ourselves any favours."

The Warriors have undoubtedly looked better over the last two weeks after losing four-straight games prior to last week's comeback 26-18 win over the Dragons.

Part of that has been down to the inclusion of playmaker Kodi Nikorima, who hasn't overplayed his hand since signing with the Warriors.

After the win over the Dragons, Kearney mentioned how he wished Nikorima was more involved but conceded he was probably getting used to things after only two training sessions with the group.

Kodi Nikorima.
Kodi Nikorima. Photo credit: Photosport

The 25-year-old took that advice on and was instrumental in the win over the Panthers, scoring a try while making two line breaks and seven tackle busts.

"He's a cocky little prick. He makes himself feel comfortable, if you know what I mean," Kearney said of Nikorima.   

"He doesn't sit back and shy away from it. He jumps into it.   

"I was pleased for Kodi. I thought a couple of touches he had tonight he showed what he was capable of. He fits into the group pretty well."

Next week's match bodes as a massive clash for the Warriors ahead of the bye round when they host Nikorima's former club, the Brisbane Broncos - who claimed an upset 15-10 win over the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.


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