The New Zealand Warriors put on a dominant display in front of a near 19,000 home crowd, romping home 40-6 against a Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs side in desperate need of improvement.
The Warriors started the match with a fast tempo; the Bulldogs attempted to match it but quickly began to fade.
Blake Green put up a nice kick to the corner for Ken Maumalo to score in the corner, then followed up moments later when he kicked towards the right edge for David Fusitu’a to tap the ball back for Solomone Kata to score.
The Warriors kept the Bulldogs camped in their half with a strong defensive effort until Adam Keighran took advantage of the tiring Bulldogs defence and scored a nice solo try.
As the first half wound down Kata and Fusitu’a combined down the right edge and put the returning Nathaniel Roache over to score to take the Warriors into halftime 22-0 up.
The Warriors returned in the second half with no signs of slowing down, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck going over after a quick dummy opened a hole in the Bulldogs’ uninspired defence.
The match was all but over by now, but the Bulldogs finally got themselves on the board through Christian Crichton after taking advantage of a Warriors error.
The Bulldogs never looked like scoring again, however the Warriors defence continued to rebuff anything the Bulldogs attempted.
The Warriors were not done yet as Kata scored his second try of the match after finishing a nice set piece and Peta Hiku finished the game, scoring a simple but effective try down the edge; the Warriors making a statement with their biggest round one victory.
Impressive debut for the recruit
It’s fair to say all eyes were on Keighran as he made his debut for the home side replacing Shaun Johnson and did not disappoint.
Adam displayed great composure and didn’t overplay his hand, taking his opportunities when they appeared, leading to an excellent solo try.
His goal kicking was superb, only missing one; in a league where every point counts his boot will be integral to the Warriors’ playoff hopes.
The future looks bright for Keighran and 2019 could be a breakout year for the young Australian.
It’s Blake Green’s team now
The Warriors are Blake’s team now, and it showed in a clinical performance.
There were hints of the razzle-dazzle that the Warriors are renowned for, but the Warriors displayed a much more composed and direct attacking style lead by the veteran half.
With the forward pack dominating, Blake had plenty of time and space to unleash pinpoint kicks for both scoring opportunities and territory.
If the forward can keep that level of intensity week in and week out, Warriors fans can expect Blake to be able to unleash the Warriors lethal backline with devastating results.
Best back three in the NRL?
Lead by the reigning Dally M Medalist Tuivasa-Sheck, the Warriors’ back three were at the rampaging best and must be in the discussion for the best back three in the NRL.
All three players continued their 2018 form with Maumalo topping the metres gained tally with 212 with Roger closely behind with 208.
Although Fusitu’a didn’t score a try in the match, his 138 run metres and a new partnership with Kata showed that the right edge of the Warriors attack is going to continue to be fruitful for the New Zealand side.
Bulldogs have a long road ahead
The Bulldogs have a lot to work on as they prepare for round two.
Their young forward pack is formidable and this side has the potential to perform, they just were never in the contest.
Whenever they had chances to score they were their own worst enemies with unforced errors, and their lacklustre defence allowed the Warriors to score almost at will.
After this performance the Bulldogs have nowhere to go but up and fans will be expecting a bounce back when they face the Parramatta Eels in round two.
Tries: Solomone Kata (2}, Ken Maumalo, Adam Keighran, Nathaniel Roache, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Peta Hiku
Goals: Adam Keighran 6
Tries: Christian Crichton
Goals: Kerrod Holland 1
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Adam Keighran, 7 Blake Green, 8 Agnatius Paasi, 9 Nathaniel Roache, 10 Bunty Afoa, 11 Adam Blair, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Lachlan Burr. Interchange: 14 Jazz Tevaga, 15 Sam Lisone, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Blake Ayshford
Bulldogs: 1 Will Hopoate, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Kerrod Holland, 4 Marcelo Montoya, 5 Reimis Smith, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Lachlan Lewis, 8 Aiden Tolman, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Josh Jackson, 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Adam Elliott. Interchange: 14 Jeremy Marshall-King, 15 Danny Fualolo, 16 Corey Harawira-Naera, 17 Sauaso Sue