NRL 2020: NZ Warriors not panicking after winless pre-season

NZ Warriors playmaker Blake Green isn't stressing about his side's pre-season form, less than two weeks out from their NRL season opener against the Newcastle Knights. 

After finishing last in their pool at last month's NRL Nines, the Warriors went on to lose 18-16 to the Melbourne Storm in Palmerston North and 20-6 to the Wests Tigers in Rotorua on Sunday.

The Warriors fielded a relatively inexperienced squad against the Storm, but named their big guns against the Tigers, which gave fans a glimpse of the likely starting XIII for the season opener on Saturday week. 

Against the Tigers, the Warriors showed signs of brilliance, but fell away in the second half, as Kiwi veteran Benji Marshall led a Wests fightback.  

But Green shut down any suggestion that the Warriors' poor pre-season displays will have any impact on the season ahead. 

"We won both our trials last year and won round one by 40 points, and then we ended up finishing 13th," Green told NRL.com.

Warriors fans watching the match against the Wests Tigers.
Warriors fans watching the match against the Wests Tigers. Photo credit: Photosport

"It’s probably a good thing. We certainly know there are plenty of areas for us to get better at.

"We need to keep working hard on many things, if we are to catch up to the top teams.

"We had 28 players play today, they aren't going to dwell on it."

The Warriors suffered some concerning injuries in the trial loss to the Tigers, as captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (foot), playmaker Kodi Nikorima, prop Agnatius Paasi (both ankles) and lock Lachlan Burr (neck) all failed to see out the game.

The quintet were unlikely to play the entire match, but the fact they picked up niggles was worrying, considering the Warriors' large casualty ward that includes centre Gerard Beale, hooker Nathaniel Roache, props Jackson Frei and Bunty Afoa (all knee), and utility Jazz Tevaga (ankle).

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said the players would undergo scans, but should all be fit for round one. 

"Kodes' [injury] is his ankle, which he hurt last year, and Roger felt something in his foot," Kearney told NRL.com.

"We will just have to wait to see how that plays out over the next 24-48 hours.  

"Kodi probably looks like he will be OK [for round one]. Agnatius I don't anticipate is going to be a bad one - I am hoping he will be ready for round one.

"The second half is where we started to make a few changes and we just lost our way a bit with a couple of errors.

"We certainly made a few changes and sometimes that causes [errors].

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