A Warriors team desperate to get their first NRL win of the season must overcome recent history in Townsville if they’re to defeat North Queensland.
North Queensland expect desperation but for an out-of-sorts Warriors a trip to Townsville is the last thing they need in their hunt for a first NRL win of the season.
The New Zealand club has only won four of 15 matches against the Cowboys in Townsville with the last of those victories coming way back in April 2002.
Since then the Warriors have travelled to the tropics eight times and come up short including a 52-12 thumping on their last visit in round 23, 2012.
It’s hardly the kind of news Warriors coach Matt Elliott will want to hear after the club’s underwhelming start to the season with defeats to Parramatta and St George Illawarra.
Cowboys coach Paul Green is wary of his opposition however as he aims to bounce back to winning ways following last weekend’s heartbreaking defeat to intra-state rivals Brisbane.
“They’re a proud team, they’re a proud club,” Green said of the Warriors.
“They’ve got some very good individual players there who I’m sure wouldn’t like the criticism that’s been aimed at them.
“The coach, people are pointing the finger, there’s a little bit of talk about him being under pressure.
“I’m sure that they’ll be desperate to come over here and arrest that and try to get a win at all costs.
“We’re up against a desperate team so we need to be just as desperate.”
Despite the loss to the Broncos, Green has named an unchanged 17 for Saturday’s match.
The Warriors welcome back big winger Manu Vatuvei after he missed the Dragons’ loss due to illness and injury.
Green said the return of the New Zealand international winger would be something to consider along with dynamic backs Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins.
“I’m sure they’ll try to get a bit of second-phase play happening,” Green said.
“Johnson and Tomkins are very dangerous in broken field play. Plenty of speed and footwork. It’s important we’re doing a good job through the middle there.
“The big fella (Vatuvei) gets back and comes off the back fence, looks to get their sets started well. He’ll be a handful for us.”