After securing their first back to back wins of the season, the New Zealand Warriors host a Brisbane Broncos side looking to continue their momentum after defeating the Roosters.
Team Form Guide
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors have turned a corner in the past fortnight showing glimpses of the dangerous side they can be. Their goal line defence was the highlight of their match against the Panthers with the Warriors spending repeat sets on their line without conceding any points.
Against a resurgent Broncos side, the Warriors will need their defence to be at the same level if they want to walk away with their third straight victory.
Also on a two-match winning streak, the Broncos win over the reigning premiers was just the statement their fans were looking for. Their forwards ran hard and set the platform for Anthony Milford to run freely, and new signing James Segeyaro added spark from the bench against a tiring Rooster pack.
The Broncos showed great spirit on defence last week leaking only one try and will need to replicate that form against a Warriors side who currently lead the competition in line breaks.
New Zealand Warriors
Only one change for the Warriors this round with Agnatius Paasi missing the match due to a one-week suspension, Bunty Afoa has taken his spot in the front row with veteran Adam Blair returning to the bench after spending the past fortnight in reserve grade.
New Zealand Warriors 21-Man Squad: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 8. Bunty Afoa, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Isaiah Papali’i, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Lachlan Burr, 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Adam Blair, 16. Ligi Sao, 17. Karl Lawton, 18. Gerard Beale, 20. Leivaha Pulu, 21. Chris Satae, 22. Chanel Harris-Tavita
The Broncos have made no changes to the 17 that defeated the Roosters.
Brisbane Broncos 21-Man Squad: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Gehamat Shibasaki, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Tom Dearden, 8. Matthew Lodge, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Tevita Pangai Junior, 14. James Segeyaro, 15. David Fifita, 16. Thomas Flegler, 17. Joe Ofahengaue, 18. Patrick Carrigan, 19. James Roberts, 20. Izaia Perese, 21. Sean O’Sullivan
Head to Head
Played: 36, Warriors 18, Broncos 18
Latest Result: Warriors 26-6, Round 18 2018
Three weeks ago they were partners, and now all eyes will be on the clash in the halves as Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford go toe to toe.
Milford has performed well the past two rounds, showing aspects of his playing style that has made him one of the most talented players in the NRL. The Broncos will be relying on his creativity to keep their winning streak alive.
Nikorima has been a breath of fresh air for his new club, and he appears to be enjoying the Warriors style of play and the reduced pressure in New Zealand. With Blake Green steering the ship, Nikorima is free to play off the cuff, and that will worry his former teammates across the pitch.
Expect to see both players cause headaches for the defence with their electrifying runs.
The Important Details
Date: Saturday, May 25
Venue: Mount Smart Stadium
Kick-Off: 5:30 PM (7:30 PM NZ Time)
Who Will Win?
Both sides have had a similar start to the 2019 season, and their return to the winner’s circle has been no different.
The Warriors return to form has been built on the back of a strong combined effort from their forward pack and their lethal back three as well as a strong defence. The Warriors need to dominate up front and get Ken Maumalo involved early and bring the offloads out, when the Warriors utilise second phase football, they score points. The loss of Passi is massive, but a confident Warriors side is a dangerous one.
The Broncos have a strong side and are now starting to play like one. If they can control the middle of the park they will control the match, the Warriors defence has improved, but they are still exposed to tries scored via kicks so the Broncos should look to the air when they get to the Warriors red zone.
It will be a tight tussle, but I think the Warriors have the edge here. Nikorima will be looking at making a statement against his old club, and his new teammates will be more than willing to assist.
Warriors by 8.