Green lauds Johnson as Warriors clip Sea Eagles’ wings
Stand-in Warriors skipper Blake Green needed only one word to describe how good it was to have his halves partner back from injury.
‘‘Fantastic,’’ Green said of Shaun Johnson’s return from an ankle injury after more than a month on the sidelines.
The star halfback was electric in the Warriors’ 34-14 victory over Manly in Christchurch last night and Green said Johnson was a major part of his side’s motivation.
‘‘We had something to play for tonight with Shaun’s 150th game. Big occasion for him, he’s contributed so much to the club,’’ Green said.
The importance of the win was evident on Green’s face post-match following the Warriors’ last start 10-30 loss to the Rabbitohs.
‘‘We’ve been a bit up and down over the last probably five weeks so it was important that we put together a good performance,’’ Green said.
He was quick to praise his middle forwards who set the platform for Johnson to weave his magic.
‘‘He [Johnson] was very good tonight but I thought our middles were very good, [they] laid a platform for him to do his thing.’’
James Gavet and Agnatius Paasi started it and interchange props Chris Satae and Bunty Afoa added impact off the bench.
Issac Luke, Adam Blair and Simon Mannering locked down the middle of the field defensively.
‘‘The boys did a good job there and created momentum for Bully [Luke] to do his stuff,’’ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said.
‘‘I thought the guys came out tonight and put in a good performance,’’ he said of his middle forwards.
Kearney also praised the work of powerful wingers Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu’a, who ensured most of the Warriors sets started with forward momentum.
‘‘Both of those guys have done a tremendous job for us all season,’’ Kearney said.
It was Manly’s home game but the 17,357-strong Christchurch crowd was clearly behind the Warriors and Kearney said the Warriors players had made mention post-game of how vocal the crowd was in their favour.
Kearney said last week’s bye had given his side a chance to address some areas of concern.
Defence was one of them and Kearney was impressed with the improvement – especially in the final few moments of the first half.
With the Warriors leading just 12-8 before the break, Luke dumped a dangerous Daly Cherry-Evans down to kill Manly’s momentum.
‘‘I thought Bully’s [Luke] tackle on Cherry [Cherry-Evans] was a big play,’’ Kearney said.
‘‘When you’re feeling things are going your happens.’’
Manly coach Trent Barrett was unsure of the exact diagnosis of star hooker Apisai Koroisau, who limped off early in the first half, but admitted ‘‘it’s not looking great’’.
‘‘Possibly a broken foot or injury,’’ Barrett said.
An extended time on the sidelines for Koroisau would be a massive loss for Manly. good way and that a lisfranc
Barrett praised the effort of Matthew Wright who played more than three-quarters of the match at hooker.
Barrett was unimpressed with the call to allow Luke’s one-on-one strip that led to Tohu Harris’ firsthalf try. He insisted there were two men in the tackle but Barrett did concede that ultimately it was his own side’s mistakes that cost them the match.
The Warriors now turnaround with an take on the Cowboys on Friday night. face a quick away trip to in Townsville
(David Fusitu’a 3, Isaiah Papali’i, Tohu Harris, Shaun Johnson tries; Johnson 5 goals) (Apisai Koroisau, Brian Kelly tries; Trent Hodkinson 3 goals). HT: 12-8.
David Fusitu’a celebrates after one of his three tries against Manly.