NRL great Billy Slater has placed a question mark on the Warriors’ finals campaign as the club returns to the arena for the first time since 2018.
The Warriors have been the surprise packet of this season, finishing fourth after coming 15th last season.
Andrew Webster’s appointment as head coach has rejuvenated the side, and now he’ll come up against his former colleague Ivan Cleary in a qualifying final.
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Slater believes both sides will have a “near identical” lead-up into the match.
“You would imagine the preparation throughout this week will be near identical given Andrew Webster’s done his apprenticeship at the foot of the mountains at Penrith and under Ivan Cleary,” he said on Wide World of Sports’ The Billy Slater Podcast.
“So they would be very similar.”
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Despite the success the Warriors have had this season, the Queensland Maroons coach has reservations about whether they can compete in the big games.
“The big question mark over the Warriors is can they get it done in big games now?” he said.
“They’ve been a great home and away season team this year and been very consistent – but do they have the quality of players to step up?
“We all talk about big game players and, and I think they’ve got one in Shaun Johnson, but is that enough? Is that enough coming up against the Panthers, the Broncos, the Storm, these big teams with a handful of big name players and big game players.
“That’s the question mark over the Warriors and, you know, the next four weeks will tell us whether they do, because a lot of people have been waiting for the Warriors to shirk this consistency that they’ve been playing with, but they’ve been doing a wonderful job.”
Slater also believes depth could be an issue for the Warriors, after a comprehensive 34-10 loss to the Dolphins last weekend.
“Obviously they rested a whole heap of players and they don’t have the depth that some of the other teams that rested (players) do,” he said.
“And we saw the result of that on the weekend against the Dolphins, but they’re a wonderful team and if they can get their game on, they’re dangerous.
“But that’s the big question mark over the Warriors is whether they can stand up in big games and if they’ve got enough big game players in their team.”