Warriors wary of young Tigers’ enthusiasm

Warriors five-eighth Chad Townsend is wary of the youthful tinge in the West Tigers line-up ahead of the teams’ NRL clash in Auckland on Saturday night.

Townsend cites 20-year-old halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses, and fullback James Tedesco, 22, as players who will provide plenty of offensive threat.

“Their spine in Tedesco, Brooks and Moses are all very young and they show a lot of enthusiasm,” he said.

“Brooks does a lot of chip kicks and little things like that for Tedesco, and Tedesco is a major part in their attack. If we can stop him, it will give us a good shot.”

The two sides go into round six with contrasting fortunes from the previous weekend.

The Tigers produced a spectacular last nine minutes against Parramatta, racking up 18 points through tries to Tedesco, in-form veteran winger Pat Richards and Brooks to win 22-6 and go to sixth on the table.

Richards’ try was his sixth of the season, while Tedesco’s was his fifth.

The Warriors suffered a second loss in a row, an error-ridden performance against Melbourne leading to a 30-14 defeat that dropped them to 11th.

They completed less than two-thirds of their sets and often coughed up turn-overs early in the tackle count or in poor field position.

“I think we’ve been beating ourselves; I don’t think other teams have been beating us, which is disappointing,” Townsend said.

“It’s something we can control. It starts at training and hopefully we can rectify that this weekend.”

With opposition defences focusing on shutting down star halfback Shaun Johnson, Townsend has found himself with more opportunities and he has impressed with how he’s taken them.

“I’ve always said I’d like to take a bit more pressure off Shaun,” he said.

“This year, I think I’ve done that and been calling for the ball a bit more.”

Townsend, in his second season with the Warriors, said having the experience of Kangaroos and ex-Storm second rower Ryan Hoffman beside him had been a big help.

He said the growing combination between winger Manu Vatuvei and rookie centre Solomone Kata was also a factor in the number of tries the Warriors were getting down the left edge.

It will be a big night for the 29-year-old Vatuvei, who will be playing his 200th NRL match.

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