Ken Maumalo saves the day
15 minutes into the game, it looked as though the Bulldogs impenetrable defence was too much for the Warriors who were struggling to make their way down the field. The Bulldogs were dominating and it looked as though the dogs were going to run away with the win if the game carried on the way it was.
A massive game changer was the moment Ken Maumalo scored a try in spectacular fashion out of nothing. The 105kg winger bulldozed his way through two tackles and sprinted the remaining 60 metres to the try line in victorious fashion. Maumalo’s try changed the momentum of the game and was possibly the deciding factor.
Warriors attack pulls through despite loss of key players
Towards the end of round 14, playmaker Kieran Foran suffered a quad strain which meant he was unable to play round 16 and possibly round 17 as well. To make matters worse for the Warriors, the 33rd minute of round 16 saw Isaac Luke leave the field with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury ultimately leaving the Warriors attack deflated.
The loss of two key players was worrying for Warriors fans but the team didn’t let it affect them and managed to play just as well – maybe even better – than they have in previous games with their star players on the field. The team made 3 line breaks, 9 offloads and ran a total of 1656 metres which resulted in a win for the Kiwi side.
Too many errors from the Bulldogs
The Bulldogs have the worst attack in the NRL with an average of 13.9 points per game this season and their inability to rack up more than 24 points a game throughout the entire season so far has been their downfall. With this in mind, they are in no position to be giving the ball away with careless errors when they can barely make use of it with a complete set. Round 16 saw the team make a total of 11 errors which included a sin bin and multiple dropped balls. The Bulldogs gave the ball away far too many times which meant they lacked opportunities to score points and catch up to the opposition.
A very close game
Before round 16, both teams were sitting next to each other on the NRL ladder at 11th and 12th and it definitely showed in terms of how close the game was. The Bulldogs and Warriors continued to cancel each other out due to the even competition between the two. The teams almost shared possession equally with 51% to the Warriors and 49% to the dogs. Complete sets, metres ran, tackles and missed tackles were almost identical – the only thing that separated the two teams was moments of individual brilliance from the Warriors as well as luck and the change of momentum.
New Zealand Warriors 21
Tries: Ken Maumalo, Blake Ayshford, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Goals: Shaun Johnson (5)
Canterbury Bulldogs 14
Tries: Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Kerrod Holland
Goals: Kerrod Holland (3)