NZ Warrior qualifies as head case

DANE Nielsen does not consider himself particularly superstitious, but the Warriors have gone on a winning run since his decision to dispense with his headgear - so it will stay off for the time being.

The 27-year-old got rid of his headgear as the Warriors struggled for wins in the early stages of the season. They have since won their past four games to emerge as playoff contenders and on Sunday will seek a fifth straight win when they on Brisbane at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Warriors got plenty of media attention in 2008 when they grew beards and went on a terrific winning run that finally ended one game short of the grand final, but Nielsen tried the individual approach this time around.

"I changed my jocks, I changed my headgear, I changed everything," the centre said.

"Last year at Melbourne, I remember growing my beard after a few defeats and things turned around and we won the grand final. I don't really have any superstitions, but it's something that plays on your mind.

"The headgear is off and it will stay off. I don't know what else I can do."

In reality, the Warriors' run has everything to do with attitude - a change in mindset after their heavy loss to Penrith on May 18.

Their opponent on Sunday, Brisbane, would well remember what the Warriors did to them three weeks ago, when the Broncos conceded 50 points in Queensland for the first time.

The Broncos were missing their four State of Origin players - as well as a couple of others through injury that day - and all four, plus Ben Hannant, should be available on Sunday.

Warriors coach Matt Elliott predicted: "Regardless of who they have or don't have, it's going to be one of our toughest games of the year.

"We won't be playing a side remotely like the one we played in Brisbane and I would dare say their mentality they will be bringing with them will be pretty focused."

- APNZ



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