Andrew Pelechaty reviews the New Zealand Warriors’ win over the tenacious St George Illawarra Dragons.
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The Warriors had plenty to play for in their final regular season home game: not only was it Shaun Johnson’s 250th NRL game, but a win over the Dragons (who were competitive against Melbourne last week) would get them closer to a top four spot.
The Dragons nearly scored off the kick-off, when Zac Lomax cleaned up a bouncing ball and touched down. But The Bunker ruled that Lomax had knocked on while trying to gather the footy.
Adam Pompey scored the first official try in the 13th minute, and then converted for a 6-0 lead.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad made it 10-0 after 20 minutes, with a nice stepping run from close range.
Addin Fonua-Blake nearly put the game away just before half-time, but knocked on over the line. Though the Warriors still had a 10-0 lead at the break.
Jacob Liddle nearly got the Dragons on the board in the 53rd minute, but also knocked on over the line.
Fonua-Blake made up up for his earlier bombed try by touching down a Johnson grubber kick in the 75th minute. Tyrell Sloan tried to pick it up in the in-goal (instead of grounding it for a goal-line drop out), with Fonua-Blake taking advantage of the error.
The win puts the third-placed Warriors (38) four points clear of the fourth-placed Melbourne, and six clear of Cronulla-Sutherland (fifth) and Canberra (sixth), though that gap is likely to close during the weekend. While they had nothing to play for, the Dragons were again competitive, which is a good sign for next season.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 – Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors)
2 – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Warriors)
1 – Blake Lawrie (Dragons)