Time for Warriors to toughen up: Lillyman

Jacob Lillyman wants the Warriors to be better in the bad times if they are to stem the tide of points flowing against them.

Tough Queensland prop Lillyman vented his frustration following the Warriors’ 30-18 loss to Penrith in Christchurch on Saturday, believing their defence is routinely letting them down.

They boast the second-worst defensive record in the league, leaking more than 26 points per game.

Lillyman says the solution is simply to grit it out when the going gets tough.

“There’re always going to momentum swings in the game and you have to ride it out until it swings back your way,” he said.

“We just have to be better when the tide’s against us. We have to buckle up and defend those periods out.

“They scored 30 points and that’s far too much.”

Lillyman unearthed some positives in his team’s sixth loss from 10 games, in particular the output of seasoned forwards Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson.

Both were stood down from the previous game against the Dragons for a breach of team protocol, along with four other players.

Thompson produced a game-high tackle count of 51, without a miss, while Matulino unfurled more running metres (160m) than anyone, despite playing just 50 minutes.

Another likely returnee for next Saturday’s game against the Canberra Raiders in New Plymouth is workaholic second-rower Simon Mannering, who has been sidelined with a facial cut.

Meanwhile, coach Andrew McFadden expressed surprise at the positive reception for Christchurch’s first NRL game in six years.

The 18,000-seat AMI Stadium venue was sold out, boosting the coffers of the “home” side Penrith.

The Panthers will bring three more games up until 2019, but McFadden suspects others will follow suit.

“I’d imagine that after tonight it will be very enticing to bring more games here. I’m sure we’ll look at it as well,” he said.

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