Winning streak ends for sluggish Warriors
THE Warriors were brought back down to earth yesterday with a 27-18 defeat to the Broncos at Mt Smart Stadium.
It ended their perfect start to the season as they were defeated by a clinical Broncos side, with young New Zealander Jamayne Isaako scoring 18 points.
After winning their first five games, there could be some disappointment from the crowd of 15,636 that the team was a bit flat.
In many ways, it was a continuation of the second half against the Cowboys last week, when they couldn’t get their attack going and over the second 40 minutes of this encounter didn’t threaten enough.
It had been a sluggish start to the season for the Broncos, coming to Auckland on the back of losses to the Titans and Knights, but this was by far their best performance of the season.
The challenge for the Warriors is to bounce back from this, take it on the chin and prepare for the unbeaten Dragons on Friday night in Auckland, because a win in that game would put them back on track.
Right from the start, this didn’t look like being the Warriors’ day.
Broncos winger Cory Oates scored a solo try in the fourth minute, cutting back inside to find a gap between Shaun Johnson and Sam Lisone.
But in the 10th minute, David Fusitu’a, who has become the club’s try-scoring machine, took a pass from Johnson that cut out Peta Hiku and the Warriors winger went in for the eighth time this season.
The Broncos later conceded three penalties in a row and on the third Johnson went for the points, putting the Warriors up 8-6.
Isaako did likewise for the Broncos in the 20th minute and the Christchurch-born winger got his first NRL try a couple of minutes later, breaking through the Warriors’ defence.
He missed the conversion, but nailed a penalty in the 29th minute to give the Broncos a 14-8 lead.
The Warriors got a huge stroke of luck with their second try as a grubber kick from Blake Green bobbled too much for Darius Boyd to grab onto.
The ball then hit the padding on the post and bounced back into the hands of a delighted Green, who took one step forward to ground the ball for the try.
With 90 seconds to go in the half and the Broncos pressing on the Warriors’ goal line, Anthony Milford surprisingly kicked a field goal for a one-point lead.
It may have put the Broncos in front but it did have to go down as a victory for the Warriors’ defence.
It was a half where the Broncos had completed all 15 of their sets and they had 23 tackle breaks to 11 from the Warriors, ran the ball for for 150m more, but still this game was on a knife edge.
It was a poor second half for the Warriors, the goal-line defence that had been so impressive this season, didn’t put up much opposition against a Jaydn Su’A run in the 46th minute.
Isaako got his second try in the 53rd minute, going down the line, outside Ken Maumalo and then added two extra points with the conversion.
Johnson gave the Warriors a slim hope of a comeback with a try in the 71st minute.
The Broncos’ Jack Bird goes high to stop the progress of Simon Mannering.