New Zealand Warriors 19
Tries: Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Chad Townsend
Goals: Shaun Johnson 3
Field Goals: Shaun Johnson
Brisbane Broncos 10
Tries: Jake Granville, Ben Barba
Goals: Ben Hunt
Field Goals: nil
It wasn’t pretty, but it happened. The NZ Warriors happily notched another mark on the bedpost on Saturday night after downing a hopeful but jaded Brisbane Broncos side in Auckland.
Origin-depleted, travel-weary and no doubt worn out, the Broncos were forced to spend much of the first half in front of their own goal line after kick-off. After a quick fumble cost the Warriors a try in the opening minutes, the Penrose outfit tried again in quick succession by way of a couple of quick line-breaks from Konrad Hurrell and Sam Tomkins. As play finally moved up the other end of the paddock, replacement hooker Josh Granville stepped and scored when he caught the defence catching a quick nap. Minutes later, Ben Henry was allowed to run straight through the Brisbane line for a cotton-soft try down the far end.
Following a trademark Konrad Hurrell try in the opposite corner, Shaun Johnson took his chances and slotted a field-goal right before half time. The shot, from well over 40 metres out, set the half-time score at 13-6.
Following the obligatory pep talk in the sheds during the break, the battle continued tit for tat. Warriors prop Suaia Matagi met Josh Hoffman, mid-air, only minutes into the closing half and consequently found himself on report. In the same spot, only a few plays later, opposing prop Josh McGuire was lifted into a precarious position and was dropped squarely on his head. An uneventful skirmish ensued for the next 20 minutes before fullback Ben Barba zipped past his opposite number to score a winger-esque try.
The visible lift of the Broncos’ tails was short-lived. A Laumape-Townsend maneuver blew the scoring margin out further more and put the lid on what was a well-earned, gritty win. Grinding like a riff from Pantera, the Warriors’ repeated steel kept the Broncos well and truly in the stable for much of the game. The Brisbane defence, noted in the past weeks for its efficiency, bowed only on a few occasions, but proved in the end to be too costly.
Next Friday the Brisbane Broncos host the Cronulla Sharks at home; on Sunday, the table-topping Penrith Panthers will run out against a confident Warriors team at Mt Smart.