New Zealand Warriors got back on track today after their Anzac Day mauling by Melbourne Storm, beating Wests Tigers 26-4 at Mt Smart Stadium.
David Fusitu’a opened the scoring with a superb try in the corner that came from a brilliant Shaun Johnson cut-out pass, with Johnson adding the difficult conversion.
The Tigers suffered a blow when David Nofoaluma was sin-binned for holding down Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the tackle, and while he was off the pitch the Warriors scored their second try through a floated Blake Green pass to Ken Maulalo, but this time Johnson couldn’t add the conversion.
But the Tigers responded on 33 minutes when former Hull FC star Mahe Fonua forced his way over in the corner after the Tigers had been awarded three successive penalties. Esan Marsters misses the conversion from the touchline.
Just before the interval Johnson added a penalty for the Warriors to make it 12-4 at half-time.
Early in the second half the Tigers suffered another blow when Elijah Taylor was sin-binned, but they were fortunate when they appeared to concede a try to Fusitu’a, but the Warriors were penalised for obstruction.
The Warriors scored a genuine try however, on 52 minutes when Johnson started and finished a move from deep, with his missed conversion making it 16-4.
And on 68 minutes they extended their lead with a converted try to Karl Lawton, who was making his debut, and the youngster scored his second from dummy-half a few minutes later. By then, however, Johnson had limped from the field and Solomone Kata was unable to add the conversion, making the final score 26-4.
The Warriors also have injury worries about Issac Luke and Adam Blair, while the Tigers have now lost three games in a row after their bright start to the season.
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (capt), 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Bunty Afoa, 9 Isaac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 16 Isaiah Papali’i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair; Interchange: 11 Simon Mannering 14 Karl Lawton 15 Sam Lisone 17 James Gavet
Tries: Fusitu’a, Maumalo, Johnson, Lawton 2; Goals: Johnson 3
Tigers: 1 Corey Thompson, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Mahe Fonua, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 17 Sauaso Sue, 13 Elijah Taylor, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Robbie Rochow, 8 Matt Eisenhuth; Interchange: 9 Pita Godinet 14 Alex Twal 16 Michael Chee Kam 18 Tim Grant
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.