Nathan Brown has accused some of his Warriors players of giving up in the record-breaking 70-10 demolition to the Melbourne Storm.
With a jaw-dropping second-half performance in which they ran in a staggering 10 tries and 54 points, the Storm broke the NRL record for points in a half and simultaneously handed the Warriors their biggest-ever loss as a club in the traditional Anzac Day clash on Monday.
Only behind 16-10 and enjoying 50 per cent of possession and completing 85% of their sets, Brown’s side were well and truly in the game at half-time.
However, they lost in-form lock Josh Curran and Test winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to injury early in the second half and from that point on never recovered.
The Warriors were afforded just seven sets in the entire half, of which they only completed two, while missing 32 tackles as the likes of Ryan Panehuyzen and Xavier Coates ran riot.
It prompted a disappointed Brown to suggest some of his players took the “easiest option” when under siege.
“We picked up a couple of injuries and under adversity I think we had some players that, truth be told, weren’t at the races after that,” a stunned Brown said post-game.
“We had some players who are good players just playing under fatigue, not having the ball made the game extremely difficult against a good side.
“The way we performed in the last 30 minutes, the injuries are not an excuse… when we picked up a couple of injuries we certainly didn’t respond very well.
“We had some players that were a little below their best and at that stage when it got harder and harder, thought the easiest option was to look for the easiest option.
“Unfortunately for a lot of our middle forwards who worked really really hard, and did a great job for us, not having the ball under fatigue made it extremely difficult.”
Pressed further on whether he was accusing his players of giving up during the second-half demolition, Brown replied: “Some people did, I have no doubt at all.
“I have been in this game a long time and it is disappointing to sit here and say that but some people looked for the easiest way out they could and that is sad.
“That is not a reflection of all the players, we had some players that worked extremely hard.
A journalist then asked if how he can fix his side going forward and Brown remained respectful.
“I have got some ideas, but not public ones.”
Adding further insult to the heavy defeat were the injuries to Curran and Watene-Zelezniak.
Curran was taken off in the 41st minute with a suspected PCL injury that is set to sideline the impressive backrower for multiple weeks, while Watene-Zelezniak suffered a serious head knock that saw him taken from the field in a medicab.
The Warriors have a short turnaround with a clash against Canberra on Saturday, with changes expected when their team is named on Tuesday after the harrowing loss to Melbourne.