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Four Pointers: New Zealand Warriors- 12 Sydney Roosters- 10

Once again the Roosters came close but not close enough as the Warriors continued their run of form with a 12-10 victory.

Warriors grind out a win

The Warriors turned in a somewhat very un-Warriors like performance as they edged out a narrow win in a real grind of a match. They only scored one try and it was the only one they needed as it was their defence and ability to stop tries that decided the result for them this time.

They actually utilized the ‘Bennett Ball’ tactic of taking the 2 points whenever they were on offer. With the Roosters giving away penalties left, right and centre the Warriors took 3 penalty goals for the day which ended up being the difference. With Shaun Johnson already noticeably struggling with a quad injury, things didn’t get easier for them after losing Thomas Leuluai early in the game and having to reshuffle their backline. This drastic shift of the team may have made them change their tactics to a more cautious approach as the usual pandemonium of the Warriors attack was almost nowhere to be seen and favoured taking the two points ahead of attacking the line.

Roosters agonizingly close yet again

For the fifth time this year the Roosters lost a match by four points or less and it was also the second time this year they have scored more tries than the opposition but still lost the match. Had they converted those half chances into victories the Roosters would be sitting in sixth position, however as will be the theme of their 2016 season it’s all a matter of what if’s and what could’ve been.

While a potential try to Joseph Manu was disallowed after Ken Maumalo was ruled to have committed a profession foul in holding Manu back from getting to the ball in-goal the Roosters had their opportunities to win and didn’t take them. Their forwards ran all over the Warriors in the first half and only managed to come up with one try for all the possession in their favour. Poor discipline and errors cost them in the end in yet another game that slipped through their fingers.

Referees deadly serious about send-offs. Except they’re not

The referees of the NRL can sometimes get a harsh time from supporters and players/coaches alike. However sometimes it’s fair to call out people on poor performances and in this particular game there was one poor area of officiating worth recognizing.

Jared Maxwell repeatedly talked to Roosters captain Jake Friend about slowing down the play the ball and the 10m infringements they were making with the constant penalties they were giving away and told him to fix it up or he’d stop talking and take action. Only he never did anything of the sort. Shaun Kenny-Dowall was the worst offender as after giving away his third penalty for being offside, Maxwell said he wouldn’t be speaking to him again. When SKD gave away his fourth penalty on his goal-line sometime later Maxwell repeated the same threat.

The NRL can demand the players respect the referees but respect is earned not given. Maxwell sounded like a classroom teacher who made threats about detentions and sending people off but never actually followed through with them. When you’re in a position of authority and you have the power to send troublesome players away but you don’t, it makes you appears soft and the players will take full advantage of it just like SKD did because they know they can get away with it.

Warriors to build on newfound resolve

Staying in the grind and winning ugly has always been one of the Warriors biggest problems and while it’s too early to say they’ve solved that problem, they showed enough signs against the Roosters to prove they have it in them. Mental toughness and consistency is also on the agenda and they don’t seem to be doing too bad on that front either.

The Warriors had to deal with a 10 minute sin binning of Ken Maumalo and defending with only 12 men for a period. The injury to Leuluai sent Tuimoala Lolohea to the halves, Nathaniel Roache to the wing and David Fusitua to fullback which would of greatly changed the attacking dynamics of the team. They came out on top through the adversity however and recorded their third straight win. The Warriors usually go on a bit of a run through the Origin period but it’s up to them to make sure they keep that form rolling and push for their first finals appearance in five years.

In The Sheds

Injuries
Thomas Leuluai came off the field after 8 minutes with a slight cut on his head and a concussion check which he failed to pass.

Scoreboard

New Zealand Warriors– 12
Tries: Shaun Johnson (64m)
Goals: Issac Luke 4/4

Sydney Roosters– 10
Tries: Mitch Aubusson (21m), Connor Watson (70m)
Goals: Sio Siua Taukeiaho 1/2

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