The NZ Warriors are tipped to toughen up for next season�s NRL, and a former North Queensland player will have a lot to do with it.
Former Cowboys forward Kevin Campion won�t be on the field, but he�s calling the shots as the club�s defensive co-ordinator and already he�s positive about what he sees after about a month of pre-season training.
��I�ve had about a month over here already and the boys have been training hard,�� he said from Auckland yesterday.
��I can�t fault how enthusiastic they are.��
Critics found plenty of fault in the Warriors� defence last season, as they fell to second-last in the premiership and failed to deliver with what looked like a fine attacking machine.
��They�ve got all the attacking ability in the world, but if you can�t stop the opposition you can�t win games,�� Campion said.
��Everyone in the league world thinks it�s a hard job I�ve taken on, but it�s simple, really.
��Fitness come first, then they�ve got to have a proper defensive strategy.��
Campion was critical of the Warriors� match fitness early last season, which saw them struggling to keep up with other teams and then having to work hard playing ��catch-up�� later.
He predicted the Warriors would be a much tougher opponent next season fitness-wise, and through several important off-season buys.
These include the captain of premiers Bulldogs, Steve Price, Canberra forward Reuben Wikki, Cowboys half Nathan Fien and the Roosters� Todd Byrne.
��They will get some maturity into the side as well, it�s something they�ve been lacking as they�ve been relying on young kids.
��With some older heads like this, we�ll be doing well next year.��