It may be eight months since the Warriors’ last victory but, given that was against Melbourne, Storm coach Craig Bellamy is wary of the NRL’s sleeping giant.
The Warriors have yet to win in 2016 but their winless streak dates right back to round 18 last year – when they produced a 28-14 defeat of the finals-bound Storm.
Going into Sunday’s clash at Mt Smart Stadium, Bellamy is only too aware that the Auckland-based side always seem to lift against the Storm and he also suggests they’ve been harshly measured over their latest losses.
“I think the criticism’s been a little bit unfair,” Bellamy said.
“They weren’t great in that first half against the Tigers but they had a really good second half and they were very, very competitive until they got a couple of injuries against the Broncos.
“They’ve been on the road for two weeks so they will be looking forward to getting home and you always get a tough game over there.”
Statistics indicate Bellamy may have a point, with the Warriors boasting the third-lowest error count in the competition with 15, and having completed sets at above 70 per cent in both matches.
Bellamy said the Warriors needed to build their combinations amongst new recruits such as Test players fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and hooker Issac Luke.
“You match them up with Shaun Johnson and you’ve got a pretty dangerous spine there,” Bellamy said.
“They will be working hard on their combinations and I’m sure when do they will show the form that everyone expects of them.”
The match-up of speedsters Tuivasa-Sheck and Cameron Munster, who takes over the Melbourne No.1 jersey for the season following Billy Slater’s shoulder operation, will be intriguing.
Another Storm young gun, teenager Curtis Scott has been given another opportunity in the centres.
“Curtis did a good job last week and as with most blokes who have their NRL debut, especially as an 18-year-old, he was a little bit nervous,” Bellamy said.
“But I thought he got better and better as the game went on.”