http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaynews/4700062a26905.html Warriors' momentum gathering speed Sunday News, Matthew Ridge | Sunday, 21 September 2008 THE Warriors' win over the Roosters on Friday night was clearly a game of two contrasting halves. They seemed to take a while to get going in the first 40 minutes and the Roosters looked relatively comfortable heading into the break. But the second half was a completely different affair and the Warriors did extremely well to increase their intensity after soaking up so much pressure. It was a bruising contest and they came out of the blocks quickly in the second half to totally outmuscle and outplay the Roosters. For me, Friday's game pretty much echoed the club's season. At the start of the year the Warriors struggled for consistency. But when the heat was on and everyone had written them off, they mounted a successful comeback. While the players are obviously turning their attention to Saturday's must-win clash with the Sea Eagles in Sydney, it will be hard to forget their brilliant win over the Storm in Melbourne last Sunday in a hurry. They were sensational and deserve every accolade that comes their way. Heading into the finals, I talked in my column about momentum and how crucial it is for any side. The Warriors have plenty of it right now and it's certainly heartening to see them playing for one another. It's also been great watching the club's under-20 boys going from strength to strength. I get the feeling their success has put heat on the senior side and the flow-on effect shouldn't be underestimated. This playoff for a spot in the Grand Final against Manly on Saturday is going to be another step up. It seems the Warriors are riding a wave of emotion right now and part of that boils down to the fact they are desperately trying to send Ruben Wiki out as a premiership winner. The Sea Eagles are in a similar position. Let's not forget this is club legend Steve Menzies' last season in the Maroon jersey. Like the Warriors have done with Wiki, the Sea Eagles are using Beaver's farewell as extra motivation. I've played with both blokes and they are both humble, great guys, who deserve fairytale send-offs. Sadly, only one of them will get the chance and I'm picking it will be Menzies. My heart for obvious reasons is with the Sea Eagles this Saturday and my head is picking them as well. I think they've got the edge on the Warriors and they'll also be motivated by last year's loss in the Grand Final to the Storm. Traditionally, premierships come once a decade for Manly and by my calculations they are due. This side is in a similar position to the Sea Eagles of old, who won the premiership in 1996 after losing in the 1995 decider. Of course, as we've seen in recent weeks, nothing is certain in this competition. For the Warriors, the job is not over. They've gone one step better than last year and therefore can consider this an improvement on last season, even if they lose on Saturday. But if they fall over at the penultimate hurdle, it will be devastating and not something the players will get over in a hurry. In the NRL, you sometimes only get one or two real shots at a premiership. These players must make the most of their chance. As Sunday News readers know, I have been one of the club's biggest critics this year. At certain stages during the season, I've called for coach Ivan Cleary's head and downplayed the Warriors' chances of making the finals. But credit must be given where credit is due. Cleary and assistant John Ackland, in particular, deserve praise for the way they have turned this Warriors side around after a faltering start to the season. They stood strong while copping flak and stuck by their players. It was a gutsy move but one that's now paying off in spades. Finally, their troops look like they are playing for their coaches and one another. And so they should. The powers-that-be have backed them all year.