NRL: Why NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster is paying no attention to competition ladder in quest for top eight finish

NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster isn't getting carried away with his side's start to 2023 - despite his side continuing to impress in the hunt for a top eight NRL finish. 

Saturday's victory over Redcliffe Dolphins was a significant one for Webster's Warriors. 

Now into round 15 of the NRL, the Warriors' class of 2023 has already accrued seven wins from 13 games - one more than what they achieved in the entirety of 2022 under Nathan Brown and Stacey Jones.

But despite already bettering last year's results, there's still plenty of room to improve, said the coach.

Of the sides above them on the NRL ladder, the Warriors have only beaten Cronulla Sharks so far this season - and that required a fightback from 20-0 down.

Currently seventh on the ladder, and with a trip to sixth-placed Canberra Raiders on Friday, with a win to take them potentially as high as fifth.

However, with plenty of time remaining for teams to play their way in - or out - of finals contention, Webster is keeping his side's feet firmly on the ground.

"Someone said to me 'have you seen the ladder?' I have not seen the ladder," Webster said. 

"I'm just really focussed on making sure we win this week. It was the goal from day one of pre-season - win as many games as we can.

"We've got to win another one this week."

But for Webster, how his team goes about their work is taking more precedence over what they do.

This season has seen a marked shift in how the Warriors go about their business.

With players in key positions enjoying career-best campaigns, ranging from halfback Shaun Johnson to prop Addin Fonua-Blake - the enjoyment within the Warriors' ranks is evident from the first whistle.

Shaun Johnson poses with fans.
Shaun Johnson poses with fans. Photo credit: Getty Images

Webster, though, emphasises that this side are far from the finished product. 

"I'd say we're up and down, really," Webster said. "At our best, we know what it looks like. We know our style, we know how we want to play, we know how we want to defend.

"No one's sitting down there doubting what's coming and how we need to do it. It's just [about] are we willing to execute? Are we willing to improve? How hungry are we?

"We've got a long way to go in this competition. We've assessed ourselves, if we really do want to be a threat, we have to improve.

"What we're doing now is good - really good - but we need to be way better. If we're hungry for that, we're going to work hard.

Andrew Webster and Tohu Harris.
Andrew Webster and Tohu Harris. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We're about to find out from now on just how bad we want to improve."

Friday's trip to Canberra will also see the Warriors blood a new face, with 20-year-old centre Ali Leiataua to debut at centre.

Join Newshub at 8pm Friday for live updates of the Warriors v Canberra Raiders NRL clash