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Warriors know they need another NRL win

Skipper Simon Mannering is avoiding going through the maths after the Warriors kept alive their NRL play-off hopes with a 50-16 hammering of Canberra in Auckland.
Warriors know they need another NRL win
by AAP

By Robert Lowe

AUCKLAND, Aug 31 NZN - Skipper Simon Mannering is avoiding going through the maths after the Warriors kept alive their NRL play-off hopes with a 50-16 hammering of Canberra in Auckland.

The match was highlighted by three hat-tricks - to Warriors Manu Vatuvei and Shaun Johnson, and Canberra's Jarrod Croker.

Vatuvei took just nine minutes in the first half to complete his and bring up 15 tries for the season.

Johnson eclipsed that by taking only seven minutes for his.

The halfback also landed seven goals to finish with a haul of 26 points as the Raiders saw their own hopes of the making the post-season slip away.

With a clutch of teams sitting around the cutline for the top eight, the scoreline greatly improved the Warriors' point differential.

But Mannering says all he'll be worrying about heading into the final-round clash away to St George Illawarra next weekend is that, first and foremost, his team need another victory.

"To be honest I haven't looked at what's needed," he said.

"I know we have to win to be a chance. That's all I'm concentrating on.

"I guess we'll see next week what we're looking at, but obviously the win's the most important thing."

The Warriors played with touches of razzle-dazzle as they scored 44 straight points to turn a 12-6 deficit into a 50-12 lead.

But Mannering said the performance was built on the basics, citing a kick by five-eighth Thomas Leuluai that produced a profitable repeat set.

"I don't think it was being too expansive, it was just sticking to what we trained through the week," he said.

"It's not the flash plays. It's the basic ones that really sent it home for us."

There was one downside for the Warriors, with veteran centre Jerome Ropati picking up a hamstring injury.

Coach Matthew Elliott has his fingers crossed that the problem is not serious enough to rule Ropati out next week.

The Raiders had gone into the match fresh from the dramas of coach David Furner's sacking, the standing down of star centre Blake Ferguson and winger Sandor Earl's suspension after admitting using and trafficking performance-enhancing drugs.

Interim coach Andrew Dunemann said there was no doubt the off-field issues were a factor in Canberra's fifth defeat in a row.

"That's not making excuses for anyone," he said.

"We've had a lot of players out and we've had to deal with a fair bit over the last three weeks.

"At the end of the day, they're professionals and we need to get over it. It's easy to say, but it's hard to do."

Dunemann still believed the Raiders were in with a chance going into half-time at 20-12 down.

But he said the Warriors proved too hard to handle in the second spell.

"We didn't defend as well as we would have liked in the second half but that's probably been our issue for the whole year, to be honest," he said.

"Our defence has been poor at times."




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