Warriors slammed in Australia

Fox Sports handed out that unwanted accolade to Stephen Kearney's side on the back of their latest loss to NRL cellar-dwellars the Newcastle Knights.

Fox produced a scathing assessment of the Kiwi franchise.

"Forget Newcastle and forget the Wests Tigers. They might be anchoring the NRL table but they're not the biggest disappointment in rugby league this year. That honour goes to the New Zealand Warriors," their story began before they flung a stiff-arm at the Mt Smart outfit.

Multiple errors proved Warriors' undoing against Sharks

As has been customary for much of 2017, multiple errors and repeated knock-ons on Friday ultimately proved the Warriors' undoing.

Despite another decent showing up front, where the Warriors outran the Sharks with the ball, the defending premiers ran in four tries to two to cement their place in the top four with five regular-season games remaining.

The Warriors are on the precipice and will have to win their last five, which include tough matches against Canberra and Manly to have any chance of a top-eight finish.

Warriors outplayed by Cowboys

Second rower Bunty Afoa scored his first try of the season to get the Warriors on the board, thanks to some quick hand work from Kieran Foran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Issac Luke's conversion put the Warriors in an early 6-0 lead, but twenty minutes in the Cowboys were even it out.

The visitors looked set to leave the first half 6-6 but The Cowboys took advantage of their errors, scored and converted another try.

Taumalolo on Warriors denial

The Warriors have long been keen to lure Taumalolo back to his homeland.

In 2015, they offered him a $2 million contract only for the 24-year-old lock to re-sign with North Queensland for less money, that ultimately paid off for Taumalolo as the Cowboys won their maiden premiership that season.

Earlier this year, the Warriors again came calling with another hugely tempting offer which, combined with the chance to be around family, almost had Taumalolo packing his bags.

Foran commitment defended

Former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott said on Tuesday he didn't think Foran had played well recently because he was already thinking about the Bulldogs, who he will join next year.

However, Kearney was not impressed with the implication.

"I think there's been stages where everyone hasn't been at their best and to single out Kieran is pretty ordinary," he said.

"Has he been at his best? Absolutely not. But he's not by himself there, so I don't think he's clocked out early.

Johnson out for up to 8 weeks

Johnson limped off with a serious knee injury midway through the second half only to watch the Warriors concede three late tries in their 34-22 loss to the Panthers.

Initial diagnosis suggested the 26-year-old halfback may have suffered season-ending damage requiring surgery.

But team doctor John Mayhew says the injury isn't as serious as first feared and Johnson is expected to recover from the ruptured ligament in his left knee in six to eight weeks.

"This is a much better outcome than we had expected," said Mayhew.

Luke, Kata back for Warriors

Luke will start at hooker with Roache out with a hamstring injury, while Albert Vete's broken arm means Sam Lisone gets a spot on the bench.

Solomone Kata returns at centre with David Fusitua moving to the wing and Nicoll-Klokstad dropping to the extended bench.

The Warriors will farewell club legend Manu Vatuvei in Friday night's clash with the Panthers ahead of Vatuvei's exit to the Super League to link up with Salford. Mount Smart Stadium will be temporarily renamed Manu Vatuvei Stadium for the night in honour of the departing winger.


Vatuvei's move confirmed

Long-serving Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei has been released from his contract and will link up with Salford in the English Super League.

The iconic try-scorer was originally contracted until the end of the 2018 NRL season but asked the Warriors for an early release in order to join Salford.

British media reported last week that a deal had been done between Vatuvei and Salford, who are owned by businessman and racehorse owner Marwan Koukash, are second on the Super League table.

Warriors leave Perth empty handed again

The result was only the beginning of the New Zealand based team's woes, as they endured a nightmare day in Perth.

Veteran Ryan Hoffman and young forward Albert Vete both face extended stints on the sidelines after copping broken bones.

Vete broke his arm in the first half of the loss, while Hoffman didn't even get on the field.

The 33-year-old's final season at the Warriors will now be heavily shortened after he broke a metatarsal bone in his foot while stretching at the team hotel.

Warriors wait on Foran

Foran remains questionable for the trip to Perth, still nursing the injury he sustained in the second half of the Warriors' Round 14 clash with the Gold Coast Titans, with coach Stephen Kearney including Hingano on the bench as cover at this stage.

With veteran hooker Issac Luke (shoulder) already a confirmed out, it's likely Hingano will feature in the final 17 as the back-up rake even if Foran does play, and the 20-year-old told NRL.com that he will be ready to start if required.