Warriors stalwart Simon Mannering says there’s “no reasonable excuse” for his side’s lethargic display in their 41-22 NRL loss to South Sydney.
The Warriors roared out of the blocks at Mt Smart Stadium and took an early lead through Solomone Kata but slumped after 10 minutes, conceding five tries in the first half.
The Auckland-based side came off second best against the Rabbitohs’ forward pack and was punished by the kicking game of Adam Reynolds, who set up three tries.
Souths also managed an impressive 88 per cent completion rate to the Warriors’ 69 per cent, and made almost 200 more metres with the ball.
Mannering, 29, labelled the loss a reality check for the Warriors in their push for finals football.
The loss pushes the Warriors out of the NRL top eight with three games to play, including a tough road trip to Townsville next week.
The pressure would now be on to snatch a finals spot from fellow mid-table clubs such as Penrith, Gold Coast and Wests Tigers.
“I thought we’d been playing a very good system for a while and this is a few steps backwards,” Mannering said.
“Some of their kicks were pretty sharp and we just couldn’t react quick enough, not just from our edges but from the middle.
“There’s no reasonable excuse for it.” Prop Ben Matulino said the Souths forward pack had rolled through his side’s defence.
Such lapses in performance could not be repeated.
“They camped us down in our own half and we struggled to get out, they turned up and they rolled us with their physicality,” the 27-year-old Matulino said.
“We let them off the hook and they just took full opportunity.”