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Fitness not to blame for losses, says Elliott

Published: 6:28AM Friday May 03, 2013 Source: Fairfax

  • Warriors back-rower Feleti Mateo looks to offload. (Source: Photosport)
    Warriors back-rower Feleti Mateo looks to offload. - Source: Photosport

Warriors coach Matt Elliott says it's wrong to blame their lapses at the end of games on fitness.

The team have blown leads at the end of their last three matches and as a result lie last on the points table.

Ahead of Sunday's game against the Titans some pundits have questioned whether the Warriors are fit enough to go the distance in NRL games, but Elliott says their problems have been psychological not physical.

"If you look at the actual specifics of the game you'll know that it's not physical," Elliott said.

"When you look at the amount of effort that was put into the Canberra match in the second half defensively, you couldn't question their commitment to use every scrap of energy that they've got.

"It is definitely focus and concentration at key times of the game. If you look at any sport, it's those times where it counts.

"We've led the last three games in the last 10 minutes, but footy is an 80-minute game and we have to make sure that we give ourselves an opportunity to win the game, as we have done, and then we have to finish it off.

"I still feel very strongly that we're tracking in the right direction, unfortunately our competition status doesn't indicate that.

"I am not suffering any confidence issues about this group of people. I am suffering some disappointment with execution of some individual plays and it's cost us in the last three weeks and we need to cover that distance."

The Titans have won four of their seven games this season, but put in a dreadful performance against Newcastle last weekend, going down 30-6.

It is a game the Warriors should have a good chance of winning if they can play at their best for the full 80 minutes, but Elliott warns that they're up against a dangerous and unpredictable side.

"They have got some big, dynamic men in their team and they've got some speed as well," he said.

"When you look at their outside backs, you wouldn't say [Jamal] Idris isn't lightning, but the other four are pretty quick.

"With Melbourne you tend to know what's coming, with this team you don't."

Warriors centre Jerome Ropati came in for some criticism after the loss to the Storm and admitted that two of his errors led to tries for Melbourne.

There had been calls for Ropati to be dropped for Sunday's game, but Elliott believed it would have been a rash move to drop someone playing his first NRL game of the season after returning from a serious knee operation last year.

"If you looked at the rest of the game, there were a lot of really good things in Jerome's performance," Elliott said.

"He executed a couple of plays that he would have liked to have done differently and I think someone of Jerome's ability, to over-react to something like that would probably show more lack of poise on my part that anyone else's.

"I have got no concern about it, he has been out for a long time and he just needs to get some continuity."