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Warriors look to aim up in defence

The Warriors' points-against average has improved markedly since they began resuscitating their NRL campaign in late May.
Warriors look to aim up in defence
by AAP

By Robert Lowe

AUCKLAND, Aug 9 AAP - The Warriors' points-against average has improved markedly since they began resuscitating their NRL campaign in late May.

After leaking 28 points a game in the first 10 rounds, the Warriors have kept opponents to an average of 17 while winning seven of their last nine matches.

But they know their defence will be tested across the park on Sunday by an in-form Manly side who have racked up 198 points in a five-game winning streak.

Second-rower Feleti Mateo says hanging on to the ball and making the Sea Eagles do their share of tackling is one way to keep their multiple threats at bay.

Another is simply being stingy on defence.

"They throw the ball around a lot, so we're just going to have to be on our game winger to winger," Mateo said.

The clash at Gosford pits 10th against third, with the Warriors hoping victory and other results over the weekend will lift them into the top-eight for the first time this season.

It will feature a back-row match-up between Mateo, skipper Simon Mannering and Elijah Taylor, and the Manly unit of Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo and Glenn Stewart.

The hard-running Horo has been in excellent form for the Sea Eagles, repaying the faith of the club that picked him up after he was let go by Parramatta last year.

Mateo knows the Auckland-born Horo from the pair's time at the Eels and has been impressed by how he's gone this season.

"He's playing out of his skin and their other back-rowers have plenty of ball-playing in them," Mateo said.

"Justin has ball-playing, but he hasn't had to do as much with (five-eighth) Kieran Foran over there.

"On my side, I've got Glenn Stewart who has a lot of ball come through his hands.

"Hopefully we can sort out their front-rowers, slow them down and give those guys less time with the ball."


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