Bulldogs.com.au takes a look at five key areas of the Warriors game that is a concern and a positive for them heading into their final game of the year.
#1: ERRORS GALORE
The New Zealand Warriors come into the final game of their season against the Bulldogs in 12th position and off the back of seven losses in row and what has really hurt them in 2015, has been their errors.
The Warriors are ranked 13th in the NRL for handling errors (averaging 9 a game) and 15th in the NRL for total errors made (averaging 12 per game), which has resulted in them having the second worse completion rate (averaging 73% per game) and the third worse team when it comes to incomplete sets per game.
The Warriors average 27/37 sets per game and after conceding 178 points in the last five weeks and if there recent form continues against the Bulldogs, it could be a long, tough night.
#2: LOVE AN OFFLOAD
The Warriors love to play off the cuff, razzle dazzle, second phase type of footy and for a side with little to play for on Sunday, you can expect some Harlem globe trotter type footy from them.
The Warriors are ranked third in the NRL for offloads with a total of 257 for the season (averaging 11 per game) and the main contributers are Ben Matulino with 49 for the year, Simon Mannering with 46 and Ryan Hoffman who has 16.
These three players contribute 43% of the total offloads made by the Warriors in 2015, so expect nothing different on Sunday night.
#3: DEFENCE AN ISSUE
The Warriors defence has really suffered in 2015, especially over the last five weeks.
The Warriors have conceded 178 points in the last five matches (averaging 35 points per game against them) and have conceded a total of 562 for the season.
This isn’t the only concern for them, leaking points.
They are ranked 10th in the NRL for missed tackles (averaging 25 per game), the worse team in the NRL for ineffective tackles, ranked 12th for tackle efficiency, third worse team when it comes to break causes and the second worse team for try causes.
The final game of the season for the Warriors could be one to forget if they don’t bring an attitude to defend against an in-form Bulldogs side.
#4: KICKING GAME A MIXED BAG
The Warriors kicking game has provided a mixed bag in 2015.
They are the third best team for forced dropouts, they have had the most kicks caught in goal, have kicked the least dead in-goal and are ranked number three in the NRL for bomb as a choice of kick.
The Warriors have kicked 122 bombs this year from a total of 437 kicks which equates to 28% of their kicks coming from the high ball.
#5: THE LOSS OF JOHNSON
The injury to Shaun Johnson in round 20 against the Sea Eagles has really turned the Warriors season upside down.
The reigning golden boot winner is an integral part of their side and since his season ankle injury, the Warriors have really found it hard to play the footy they did with him and the footy everyone has come to enjoy.
The Warriors with Johnson: Rounds 1 - 20
- Ranked 6th for points scored
- Number one for line-breaks
- Ranked 4th for tackle breaks
- Ranked 5th for kick return metres
- Ranked 7th for line break assists
- 9th for try assist
- 10th for ineffective tackles
- 7th for missed tackles
- 5th for run metres
- Conceded only 384 points (average 19.2)
The Warriors without Johnson: Rounds 21-25
- Ranked 14th for points scored
- 7th in the NRL for line breaks
- 7th in the NRL for tackle breaks
- 8th in the NRL for kick return metres
- 13th in the NRL for line break assists
- 13th in the NRL for try assist
- 16th in the NRL for ineffective tackles
- 10th in the NRL for missed tackles
- 9th in the NRL for run metres
- Have now conceded 562 points (178 in the last five weeks)