Former Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson had probably his best game of the season for the New Zealand Warriors today, leading them to a 28-10 victory over Brisbane Broncos in Auckland.
It was the Warriors’ fifth victory of the season against a Brisbane team depleted by State of Origin call-ups, although they still lie outside the top eight on the NRL ladder.
Johnson produced two first half assists for Blake Ayshford and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and he scored a try himself to give the Warriors a 16-0 interval lead, while Brisbane were hampered by a completion rate of less than 60 per cent. The highlights for them were James Roberts’ two second-half tries.
The Warriors extended their lead at the start of the second half when Issac Luke shot out of dummy-half and put Ken Maumalo over the line.
Roberts’ two tries set up a created some anxiety for the Warriors at 22-10, but when James Gavet scored their final try, any chance of a Broncos’ victory was finally extinguished.
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 3 Blake Ayshford, 4 David Fusitua, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Bodene Thompson, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Simon Mannering; Interchange: 14 Nathaniel Roache, 15 Sam Lisone, 16 Albert Vete, 17 Bunty Afoa.
Broncos: 1 Jordan Kahu, 2 Jonus Pearson, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tautau Moga, 5 David Mead, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Travis Waddell, 10 Adam Blair (c), 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Jaydn Su’A, 13 Korbin Sims; Interchange: 14 George Fai, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Jai Arrow, 18 Kodi Nikorima.
Full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches can be found in Monday’s issue of League Express