New Zealand Warriors 30
Tries: Tuimoala Lolohea 2, Bodene Thompson, Shaun Johnson, Manu Vatuvei
Goals: Shaun Johnson 5
Field Goals: nil
New Zealand Warriors have put together two consecutive victories with a convincing 30-8 victory over Canberra Raiders at Mount Smart Stadium in front of 13,110 fans.
Shaun Johnson once again was the star scoring a try, setting up another two and kicking five goals as the Warriors moved to seventh on the competition ladder. Jacob Lillyman winning in his 200th National Rugby League appearance.
Canberra are likely to come under scrutiny from the National Rugby League administration this week after Blake Austin stayed on the field after suffering a head injury in attempting a tackle three minutes after the break. It took just over five minutes before Austin was taken from the field under the concussion test.
In an often heated game, the Warriors opened the scoring eleven minutes in when Bodene Thompson ran over the top of Jarrod Croker in a simple one-on-one missed tackle. It took until mid-way through the opening half for the Raiders to hit back with Jack Wighton having a clear passage to the line after some smarty footy by Sia Soliola with an inside ball.
Twelve minutes before the break the visitors took the lead for the only time in the match through Croker’s penalty goal. Two minutes later Croker again was exposed in defence by Konrad Hurell in the lead-up to Tuimoala Lolohea’s try. New Zealand Warriors headed into the break 14-8 ahead with a late Johnson penalty goal.
It looked like the home team were going to go on with the job early in the second half when they were denied early with Austin’s tackle on Manu Vatuvei just enough to force the winger into touch. Minutes later it was Johnson who toyed with the opposition before going straight through a gap in scoring. When Johnson kicked in goal for Lolohea to grab his second for the evening, the floodgates had opened with the Warriors ahead 24-8.
The final twenty saw a try denied to Croker as he failed to force the ball down following through Sam Williams’ kick. It was evident the Raiders had churned up a lot of gas in defence after a lopsided penalty count went against them. Williams’ desperation to float the ball out wide with two minutes remaining gave Vatuvei the easiest of catches and a thirty metre stroll to the line.
Canberra lacked the punch of recent outings with potentially the one point loss to North Queensland a factor in their performance. They now are tenth and four points away from eighth spot.
New Zealand Warriors have rectified some of their bad habits with a good completion rate and starting to show signs of finishing the job on their opponents the last two weeks. They will stay in the top eight as they take next week off for a bye.