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Green's importance downplayed by Warriors

Stephen Kearney says no Warriors player is essential this season, including recovering halfback Blake Green.

Green's importance downplayed by Warriors

Stephen Kearney says no Warriors player is essential this season, including recovering halfback Blake Green.

BLAKE GREEN of the Warriors looks to pass during the NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the New Zealand Warriors at GIO Stadium in Canberra, Australia.
BLAKE GREEN of the Warriors looks to pass during the NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the New Zealand Warriors at GIO Stadium in Canberra, Australia. Picture:Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Pre-season fears that the Warriors' NRL hopes hinge on the fitness of Blake Green have been heightened this week, although the club insists they can cope without him against North Queensland.

Green's groin has been a talking point all week ahead of Saturday's match between two bottom-eight rivals at Mt Smart Stadium.


The 32-year-old was named to start and trained on Wednesday but coach Stephen Kearney can't be conclusive about the starting halfback berth.

Green must train without trouble on Friday and convince medical staff there will be no recurrence of the twinge during the warm-ups that ruled him out of last week's 28-24 loss to South Sydney.

That match was notable for the Warriors conceding three tries in the final quarter to squander a 12-point lead.

The control and direction Green provides was missing but Kearney wouldn't attribute his absence for the late meltdown.

The blame for failing to complete six of their last eight sets was spread across the team, he said, with rookie playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita not alone in making some key late blunders.

"We don't want to put any super-reliance on one person," Kearney said.

"We expect whoever comes into the team to fulfil their role and do it well.

"We got ourselves into a position where we could have got away with the win there but we just didn't it finish it off the way we wanted to."

Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck continued his brilliant start to the season but even he threw away late possession.

He suggested Green's importance has been overstated since the departure of Shaun Johnson and wouldn't hear criticism of Harris-Tavita after the 20-year-old only learned of his shift to halfback moments before kickoff, in just his second NRL match.

"The way he performed throughout the majority of the game, he was calm, he got to our kicks and got our plays going," Tuivasa-Sheck said.

"But just in the back end is the big lesson for us as leaders to step up. I thought Chanel did his job really well."

The Souths loss was the Warriors' first close game of the season following two heavy defeats and two substantial wins, which both came at their Auckland home ground.

The Cowboys (1-4) are probably yearning for the return of injured powerhouse Jason Taumalolo as much as the Warriors want Green back.

Last week's tense loss to Melbourne was the North Queenslanders' fourth in a row, heaping more pressure on coach Paul Green.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Warriors are chasing a third successive home win to start the season, which hasn't been achieved since 2008.

* North Queensland have conceded 20 or more points in their last seven matches away from home.

* Former Cowboy Leeson Ah Mau averages 10.3m per run against North Queensland, his best against any club.

AAP


AAP




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