New Zealand Warriors 36
Tries: S Johnson 2, N Friend, R Faitala-Mariner, K Hurrell, B Thompson
Goals: S Johnson 6
Gold Coast Titans 14
Tries: J Roberts, L Burr, J Hoffman
Goals: A Sezer 1
A masterclass from the magic Shaun Johnson has helped the New Zealand Warriors convincingly defeat an injury struck Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday night. The Warriors displayed composure and perseverance that had previously been unseen from the unpredictable side, and on the back of some flawless football, the New Zealand side were able to blizt the Titans in the second half.
At the half time break, the Gold Coast looked to have the game under control, as they were leading 10-6. The Titans started the game enthusiastically, and a nice piece of play from club debutant Nene MacDonald saw Josh Hoffman cross for the first try of the night. Several minutes later, it was beginning to look like the Warriors would be in for a long night, as Titans second rower Lachlan Burr burst through a hole for his first NRL try.
In the 20th minute, ex-Titan Nathan Friend dove through a massive hole from dummy half to score against his former club.
It took another 31 minutes before the next try could be scored, however on the back of some conservative football, the Warriors scored through Raymond Faitala-Mariner to take the lead for the first time in the game. From then on, it was all the Warriors. The electric Shaun Johnson then cut through the Titans defence only four minutes later to extend the Warriors lead. It was the Kiwi halfback again who rolled a perfectly weighted grubber into the in-goal for Konrad Hurrell to pounce on.
The Titans were desperately trying to stay in the contest, but were struggling following the loss of star players Ryan James and Aidan Sezer to injury. Try scoring freak James Roberts crossed for his 14th of the year following a bizarre intercept from Eddy Pettybourne, who was legally retreating from his previous tackle.
However, the Titans couldn’t contain the brilliant Warriors any longer, and conceded tries to Bodene Thompson and Johnson in the final six minutes of the contest.
In a promising sign for Warriors fans, the New Zealand side showed what they are capable of when they play with composure and focus on completing their sets. The Warriors completed a perfect 13 sets to begin the second half, and they continued to apply pressure on the Titans by forcing repeat sets.
Their patience in the opening 50 minutes allowed them to wear the depleted Titans down, before Johnson spear headed their killer instincts to pile on the points in the final 25 minutes.