EYES ON THE BALL: Junior Tatola and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
EYES ON THE BALL: Junior Tatola and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. John McCutcheon

Disappointment for Warriors after gutsy effort falls short

RUGBY LEAGUE: New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney was gutted for his charges after their efforts came to no avail at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday.

The Warriors went into the match against the Rabbitohs as clear underdogs and without halfback Blake Green, who suffered a groin injury in the warm-up.

They gamely battled to a 24-12 lead but ultimately lost the round five match 28-24 after a decisive try in the 77th minute to Cody Walker. It was a hard result to take.

"I was just really disappointed for them because for all the effort and hard work they put in they couldn't quite get the result," Kearney said.

"That's the NRL. You've got to work right to the final whistle and make sure (of it). (A) 60-minute effort doesn't quite get you the win."

The Warriors muscled up to the renowned Rabbitohs pack in the first half, while captain and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looked ever dangerous. Two-gamer Chanel Harris-Tavita largely took the reins, in the absence of Green. But they were ultimately undone five tries to four.

"The effort, I couldn't fault that," Kearney said.

"I just thought we weren't real smart (at) the back end of the second half there. When we got 12 points ahead we just needed to manage the game more effectively and we didn't do that so well which was frustrating because they worked so hard to get themselves in that position.

"And a good side like South Sydney, you can't invite them back into the contest. I thought we did that. I think we had about seven sets and we only completed one through that period so it's a tough ask."

The Warriors have won two of their five games.

"It's been a mixed bag," Kearney said. "We've just got to keep moving forward and look to improve where we can."

They face the Cowboys, who have won just one game, at home next weekend.

"They'll be super desperate for a result too so we've just got to ... get better for next week."