Warriors to change up style of play in 2020 after players petition for more freedom

The Warriors will change their playing style for the 2020 NRL season after players approached team management after last year's disappointing campaign.

Adam Blair against the Titans Source: Photosport

Veteran forward Adam Blair told reporters some in the playing group had concerns at the end of the 2019 competition about their game plan and collectively wanted to approach Stephen Kearney and the other coaches about a change.

Players wanted more licence to express themselves this season and after some discussion, Kearney has obliged in the hopes it will work as a positive change.

"It was the back end of last year," Blair said.

"We recognised it late in the season but by then it was a bit too late to change. We sat down as a playing group, put it forward to the coaches and [they] really actioned what we wanted, so credit to them."

Blair said doubts about their style of play last year - in which the Warriors finished 13th with nine wins, a draw and 14 losses - began to creep in in the final two months of competition.

"It was most probably after some tough losses," Blair said.

"Those are the ones when you think about if the game plan is actually working. We realised a lot more when we played our last game, that may have been the one that opened our eyes and our coaches' eyes to a lot of things."

That game was a round 25 clash against the high-flying Canberra Raiders.

Admittedly, the Raiders rested some key players for the match with the result meaning nothing but the Warriors were also without some regular startings, including winger David Fusitu'a.

Regardless, the Warriors played with more freedom and flair in the contest and managed to erase a 10 point deficit on their way to a 24-20 upset win over the eventual grand finalists.

"We didn't change too much, we just went out there and played what suited our group of players," Blair said.

"That may have triggered a point for the players and the coaches. We have those kind of players. Why not play that way ... as long as you can back it up defensively?"

The result would snowball the players' decision to approach coaching staff about their style of play this sesaon, Blair added.

"Everyone was a part of it ... not only the leaders.

"We all sat down together, spoke about what worked and what needs to change and they sat down over the break and actioned it in November."

Coach Kearney said he was impressed with the collective approach of his players.

"It was listening to the collective group, right across the whole footy department and taking on board what we needed to get better," said Kearney. "It was mostly about our game model and training accordingly, to complement that game model.

"In a footy club you need to take on board all feedback. I've got no problems in making some adjustments but the players need to have an awareness that there's an expectation from [the coaches'] point of view if we make those adjustments."