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Warriors coach Stacey Jones wants to 'break some habits' after another loss to Sharks

By AAP
(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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The Warriors have fumbled another early lead in a 38-16 loss to Cronulla as NRL life under Stacey Jones began the way it ended under Nathan Brown.

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Up 12-0 and playing sparkling football fresh off Brown’s abrupt exit, the Warriors completed just one set in the next 15 minutes as the Sharks ran in three tries.

A restart kicked out on the full didn’t help and another knock-on led to Matthew Moylan strolling over for a fourth try, before Sione Katoa made it five before halftime.

Winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak sprung like a pole-voter to conjure a Warriors try to begin the second half and offer some hope.

But again mistakes crippled their comeback in Redcliffe, with Sharks fullback Will Kennedy planting a loose ball fumbled by opposite number Reece Walsh a staggering eight times before he finally dropped it.

The Warriors’ inconsistent night followed the script of their last meeting at their adopted home against Newcastle a fortnight ago and ensured caretaker coach Jones plenty of headaches as the club looks to salvage a 4-10 season.

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“We have to lift some effort areas, being resilient and having some steel, but it was the same result,” Jones lamented.

“We just fell back into some habits they’ve got to get out of. I’d like to fix it straight away but it might take some time.”

Aside from his memorable fumble, Walsh was otherwise solid, playing with confidence and breaking a 15-game scoring drought with his first-half try.

Earlier Ronaldo Mulitalo was awarded his second try on review, somehow keeping his leg in the air over the sideline to the approval of the bunker, who reversed the on-field, no-try soft ruling.

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With Katoa completing a hat-trick, Cronulla scored eight tries to three.

The fact many were scored near the sideline, however, didn’t help the goalkicking of Nicho Hynes, who made three of eight off the tee.

Victory for the Sharks (8-5, fifth) meant they avoided their first back-to-back losses of the season.

Siosifa Talakai managed 206 running metres, while Hynes called the shots with precise end-of-set kicking as both pressed their cases for State of Origin call-ups for Game II in Perth in a fortnight.

Cronulla’s first-year coach Craig Fitzgibbon was happy to escape but said the challenge remained to reduce the difference between their best and worst.

“We knew with a new (Warriors) coach, possibly a big energy shift is going to happen,” he said.

“So to respond after that start, I’m really happy about that.

“Physically we were there, mentally we just wobbled in and out of the game.”

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