|Copyright Photo: Fiona Goodall / www.photosport.nz|
After back to back impressive results, the Vodafone Warriors had a lot of momentum going into their Round 15 clash with the Sydney Roosters.
The last time these teams faced each other resulted in a Golden Point victory to the Warriors and this matchup proved just as tight with the Warriors holding on to win 12-10.
The Roosters defense was impressive and they keep pushing a Warriors team that has scored 86 points in the past fortnight backwards.
The Warriors lost Ken Maumalo to the sin bin and lost Thomas Leuluai for the game with a head knock, Albert Vete was also taken off for a concussion test and going into half time the Warriors only had 2 points from a penalty goal with the Roosters leading 4-2.
The second half was more of the same, the Roosters let themselves down with penalties for continually slowing down the ruck and this kept the Warriors in the game with Issac Luke kicking two more Penalty goals.
Shaun Johnson showed some of his brilliance to score the Warriors solo try for the match and after that it was a waiting game with both teams trading the ball and trying to snatch the victory but despite how messy it looked the Warriors got the job done.
This was the first time since July 2015 that the Warriors have won three matches in a row but to call a spade a spade this was a sloppy performance from the home side.
Losing Thomas Leuluai early in the first half to his head knock did not help the Warriors cause as when he left the Warriors appeared lost on attack.
Shaun Johnson was not 100% fit and it showed in his game as he did not attack the line like he has been the past fortnight but he played smart and only hit the line when he saw an opportunity like when he opted to run on his own on the last tackle and scored the Warriors only try.
David Fusitu’a disappeared when he was moved to fullback after Thomas Leuluai Left the field and Tuimoala Lolohea at times looked out of his depth playing in the halves.
Ken Maumalo had a shaky start to his return to first grade with his sin-binning but when he returned to the field he made some solid runs to help the Warriors start their sets strong.
The quick line speed of the past fortnight vanished and the silly errors that plagued this team in the early stages of the season crept back into the game.
But it’s not all negative though as this tough grinding win is a win the Warriors would not have gotten earlier in the season.
This display of toughness and the ability to hold onto a lead no matter how slim is what is required in the weeks to come.
The way the Warriors kept plugging away and not dropping their heads when an error was made was to be commended as for too long this side has been known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The return on Jacob Lillyman next round after State of Origin duty will be a welcome return as his hit-ups were sorely missed.
My player of the game goes to Issac Luke.
When Thomas Leuluai left the field Issac took on a bigger playmaking role in this game and was effective running out of dummy half and got the Warriors out of trouble many times.
In the past month, Issac has finally started to return to the form that was expected of him during his time with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come as the Warriors need Issac to perform like this consistently as they claw their way back into the playoff hunt.
My player who needs to improve this week is David Fusitu’a.
After an amazing game last week David had a lot of expectations placed on him and he just didn’t deliver, the move to Fullback seemed to take him out of the game completely.
He needed to insert himself into the game and he just didn’t, maybe we have been spoilt with Tuimoala Lolohea playing at Fullback as he constantly gets involved.
David is young and still getting used to playing first grade so he will learn to get more involved.
This round the Warriors are heading to Sydney to face the Cronulla Sharks in what is surely going to be a tough encounter.
The Sharks have been in tremendous form and after a 10 game winning streak sit atop the NRL Table.
The Warriors will need to play exceptionally well to get the win but the Warriors enjoy being the underdog so this game could be theirs to take.
What did you think of the game against the Roosters?
Who stood out for you in this match?
What do you think are the Warriors chances this week against the Sharks?
Comment and let me know.
This post first appeared on Nz Warriors 2017 Season Preview : Above The Line - The Kearney Era Begins, please read the originial post: here