New Zealand Warriors 16
Tries: Townsend, Allwood, Kata
Goals: (Johnson, 2 conv.)
Brisbane Broncos 24
Tries: Oates, Maranta, Wallace, McCullough
Goals: Parker (3 conv, 1 pen)
The New Zealand Warriors have had their 20th birthday party spoilt, going down 24-16 against an impressive Brisbane Broncos outfit in controversial style at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
A wasteful Warriors found themselves down 16-nil at Half time, after completing just over 50% of their sets in the opening stanza.
The Broncos may have considered their lead more slender than it should have been at just 16-nil having dominated the first half on the back of the home side’s mistakes.
It had started well for the Warriors, who actually dominated the opening 10 minutes of the game, even crossing the line through Johnson, only for the video referee to call the play back for a knock on in the lead up.
The decision seemed to shift the momentum to the Brisbane side, who found their groove, and the try line shortly after.
It took 11 minutes for Corey Oates to find his first try following a good shift of the ball from the Broncos. It took just five for the Brisbane side to find their next, when they put the ball through the hands the other way, for Lachlan Maranta to score on the other wing, for a 10-nil lead.
The travelling side then dominated the contest without adding to the score line. In fact it was the Warriors who almost added to the scoring, when half Chad Townsend left Adam Blair clutching at thin air. The New Zealand number seven couldn’t find his support player however, to leave the opportunity begging.
And right on the half time siren, Jarrod Wallace pushed his way over the Warriors defence, to make the home side pay for squandering their opportunity. The try was not without controversy though, with video evidence seeming to show the ball being held up, however the video referee backed up the on field referees call of try.
While coach Andrew McFadden was certain to have talked about ball security during the half time break, it seemed to fall on deaf ears when the Warriors dropped the ball bringing it out from the kick off. The poor handling didn’t cost the home side however, and they started to warm to the the task.
In the 45th minute, the Warriors finally troubled the scorers when a Shaun Johnson bomb wasn’t cleaned up by the Brisbane backs, before it was shifted to Townsend who scored near the posts.
The comeback was well and truly on in the 64th minute when the New Zealand side crossed through Matt Allwood on his Warriors’ debut. The try was started by Nathan Friend’s clever run from dummy half, before Johnson found space and through the ball to Allwood wrapping inside.
And trailing by four, the Warriors weren’t done, another Johnson Bomb putting Jordan Kahu under pressure, particurlarly when Manu Vatuvei got a hand to the ball to tip it back to Solomone Kata to score. Johnson sprayed the conversion across the face of the uprights to leave the game locked at 16-all with ten minutes to play.
The home side had an opportunity to attack again when Jarrod Wallace dropped the ball in his own half, however Johnson picked it up and through the ball to no one in an attempt to shift the steeden quickly, with the Broncos coming up with the ball, New Zealand having played their advantage.
Then the Bronocs earnt a dubious penalty when Ben Matulino was deemed to have interfered in the ruck, gifting Corey Parker a 75th minute penalty and the Broncos the lead.
From their, the Brisbane side controlled the play beautifully, forcing a couple of line drop outs to chew the last of the clock down. New Zealand went for a short drop out needing the ball back, and while Vatuvei managed to tap the ball back, the ball dribbled in to the in goal where Andrew McCullough was on the spot to plant the ball for Brisbane.
Corey Parker sent the conversion over the posts, and the Brisbane side came home with a 24-16 victory.