NRL 2022: NZ Warriors head coach Nathan Brown prepares for season-defining stretch

Coach Nathan Brown insisted the next four weeks could prove crucial in shaping NZ Warriors' 2022 NRL campaign. 

Starting with St George Dragons on Saturday, three of their next four games are against sides currently outside the top eight. The other are the Sharks, who - despite dispatching the Warriors with just 12 players the other week - have shown they're beatable this year. 

Halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita's availability will become known after he sees a specialist, as he makes his way back from a ruptured testicle. Centre Jesse Arthars will likely be 18th or 19th man this week. 

But regardless of who's on the park, Brown knows they need to turn things around quickly, if they're to stand any chance of securing an all-important top-eight finish. 

NRL 2022: NZ Warriors head coach Nathan Brown prepares for season-defining stretch
Photo credit: Getty/Newshub.

"It gets to that stage where we're one win out of the eight and there's a fair chunk of sides that are around that eight and 10 points," Brown said.

"There's going to be sides that get some real consistency and growth in their game and push forward on the ladder, and there's going to be some you look at in four or five weeks time and they're in a similar spot." 

Their first half performance in the 32-30 defeat to South Sydney Rabbitohs last weekend laid bare all of the side's frailties and shortcomings.

With inconsistency, poor edge defence, an inability to stifle the Rabbitohs' momentum, the opening 40 minutes were far from pretty. 

"We had different areas of the field do well in different parts, we just didn't collectively get the consistency across the board," Brown said.

"If you fight back and win I suppose you look at it as an acceptable thing, but you certainly don't want to be happy because you were down by a big margin and you just got beat."

It wasn't just the scoreboard margin, but the ease with which the Rabbitohs carved through the Warriors defence in the first half that caused alarm. 

The second half was a different story, and showed the Warriors potential when they do get going in games, although the hunt for a complete performance continues. 

"Whilst we've won a few games this year, I still don't think we've nailed two halves of footy. We've had one good half or a couple of good periods. 

"We're certainly disappointed in probably the last three weeks of footy. We felt we were making some decent progress before that. 

The time to turn their season around has come, and the window of opportunity may close sooner rather than later 

Finding that consistency in the coming weeks - with those winnable games on the fixture list before the club return to Mt Smart on July 3 - is crucial. 

"The challenge for us is to be one of the sides that pushes forward, so when we do go back to New Zealand, whether you call it momentum or a good position on the ladder, that's the challenge for us in the next four to five weeks."

"We certainly want to go home and have the fans turn up to watch a team that's playing consistent footy."

Join us at 5pm (NZ time), Saturday for live updates of NZ Warriors v St George Dragons