Four Pointers: New Zealand Warriors- 14 Sydney Roosters- 13

Warriors turn in best defensive performance in recent memory

Of all the teams to have a scoreless second half and defend their way to a victory, the Warriors would be just about the last team one would imagine pulling it off. Yet they did just that against the Roosters.

Time and again they defended their goal-line from repeat sets, the Roosters unable to break through a resilient Warriors defence. Stephen Kearney hasn’t produced table topping results as coach yet but his defensive mindset and approach to footy from his time at the Broncos is becoming evident in the way the Warriors are playing. If the Warriors can keep up that level of defence consistently they’ll become genuine contenders if and when they start to click in attack.

RTS leads by example

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s defence has certainly been questionable this season. Many an opposition player has enjoyed strolling past him as he falls off a tackle attempt. On this day though he was on his game. After the Roosters made a break down field, it was RTS who pulled off a try saver on his old teammate Jake Friend. The latter managed to get a pass away before going to ground and RTS simply got up again and made another try saving tackle within seconds.

As the recently appointed captain, RTS is learning what it means to lead by example and those type of plays helped inspire his team to victory. The Warriors remain of League’s biggest enigmas but as captain RTS is making a good go of it and could potentially be the man that leads them back to a finals appearance.

Pearce lives long enough to see himself become the villain

After nailing the winning field goal last week in what was his first successful attempt in 6 years, Pearce got a little too carried away with his own accomplishment. Heading into the last 10 minutes of the match, Pearce had one thing on his mind for every end to an attacking set and that was field goal.

He missed his first attempt but by the next time he got in range, he nailed another one. The game wasn’t over yet though and before Pearce could celebrate being the hero again, he gave away a penalty for being offside in range of a goal kick for the Warriors. Johnson kicked the Warriors 1 point ahead and Pearce had blown it. Over the 80 minutes there was so much the Roosters could have done to won the game, it’s not fair to say he was personally responsible for the loss. However in the tight matches you don’t want your halves counting his chickens before they’ve hatched.

Roosters tactics need work

As good as the Warriors defence was, the Roosters attack has been failing to fire in recent weeks. One persistent tactic they have used is aiming kicks toward the right winger in an attempt to test them against Daniel Tupou. Against the Warriors it was a reasonable enough tactic to use against a debutant in Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. When he proved to be up to the test, they did abandon the play but looked clueless in the rest of the match.

A strong solo effort from Joey Manu and an intercept against the run of play from SKD were the only tries they managed to conjure up. With the quality of players they have their attack isn’t producing as many points as it should. With Origin coming up there a fair few Roosters players who won’t be available and so it’ll only get harder from here if they don’t work out a new game plan.

New Zealand Warriors- 14
Tries: James Gavet (6m), David Fusitua (35m)
Goals: Shaun Johnson 3/3

Sydney Roosters- 13
Tries: Joey Manu (28m), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (47m)
Goals: Michael Gordon 2/3
Field Goal: Mitchell Pearce (75m)

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