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Stephen Kearney pleased with resilient Warriors' comeback win over Dragons ' -'The point was about sticking at it'

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has praised his team for their resilience in last night's win over the Dragons after a "challenging month of footy".

The Warriors entered last night's game on a four-game losing streak and it looked as though they were heading for another defeat with the score sitting at 18-6 at half time.

But the Kiwi side found their stride at long last in the second half, scoring 20 unanswered points on their way to a 26-18 win.

Kearney said his message at the break was simple.

"To the boys' credit at halftime, the point was about sticking at it and hanging in there. We needed to fix a few things in defence and give ourselves the opportunity," Kearney said.

"I thought they did that. They never stopped going at them. It would have been easy for the lads to tuck the ball under the wing and not play any footy but they went after it and that's what I was really proud of. It takes courage."

The win also happened to fall on Kearney's 100th NRL match as a coach but the 46-year-old didn't talk about the milestone much.

"Morale and confidence was fairly low after the Knights' loss last week [26-18]. I thought they came to Mt Smart and gave us a bit of a touch-up," he said.

"I'm really proud of the effort, it's been a challenging month of footy."

Kearney did spend time talking about new half Kodi Nikorima though, who had been a talking point all week ahead of his debut for the club after a whirlwind mid-season exit from the Brisbane Broncos.

While the 25-year-old didn't stand out, Kearney noticed his leadership and experience throughout the match.

"I thought Kodi was good," Kearney said. "For a part of the second half, he could have got into the game a bit more.

"But he's getting used to things, it was a bit tense and tight midway through that second half, but I'm sure he'll get better with the group.

"I thought there were some really courageous performances out there. Karl Lawton did some wonderful stuff for us, Ligi Sao came on and did some great stuff for us too.

"So the guys really dug in in the second half, and I was really pleased and proud of them that we got a result."

The Warriors next play the struggling Panthers in Penrith on Friday.

Stephen Kearney, coach of the NZ Warriors, Rabbitohs v Vodafone Warriors, NRL rugby league premiership. Optus Stadium, Perth, Western Australia. 10 March 2018. Copyright Image: Daniel Carson / www.photosport.nz
Stephen Kearney. Source: Photosport


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