Matt Harris, Queensland Correspondent
Warriors’ fans should be salivating at the prospect of a prosperous 2014 season if Shaun Johnson’s early season form continues after he orchestrated a devastating 48-4 victory over the Broncos in Dunedin.
Johnson’s silky-smooth skills demonstrated in the Auckland Nines continued into the Broncos trial, while English recruit Sam Tomkins was also instrumental in the nine-try romp.
The fledgling fullback/halfback partnership of Tomkins and Johnson looms as an ominous threat for opposing NRL sides with both players exhibiting exhilarating attacking flair.
With Johnson only required to play 52 minutes, fullback Tomkins saw out the entire match and looked assured under the high ball while demonstrating a desired aggression in his kick returns in a flawless, all-round display.
The Broncos will look to immediately expel what was an deflating performance out of their system before they clash with the Bulldogs in Round 1.
Brisbane were constantly on the back foot due to a lack of possession brought about by a combination of handling errors and missed tackles.
The Warriors gained the early initiative after only four minutes when Johnson sliced through Brisbane’s defence from a scrum base move 10 metres out.
The Broncos managed to strike back in the 14th minute after Ben Hunt launched a bomb that Kodi Nikorima knocked backwards into the path of Jack Reed to plant the ball over the line.
It took the Warriors less than five minutes to extend their lead to 12-4 after Glen Fisiiahi squeezed his way over in the corner with only millimetres separating his right boot and the sideline.
Fisiiahi nabbed a double on the half-hour mark to stretch the score out to 16-4 after lovely lead up play from the Warriors’ outside backs.
A Johnson line break had the Broncos scrambling and home side crossed from the next play with a Carlos Tuimavave pass setting up Fisiiahi.
Brisbane had no answers to the Warriors attack and the home side crossed moments before half-time when Nathan Friend interchanged passes with Feleti Mateo to allow Charlie Gubb to crash over from close range.
Trailing 22-4 at half-time and only enjoying 35 per cent of first-half possession, the Broncos started the second stanza in spirited fashion, but were soon deflated by another Warriors try in the 50th minute.
The Warriors right-side attack was on song again as Tuimavave crossed out wide and Johnson converted to take the score out to 28-4.
Johnson’s sideline conversion was the last action he saw as he was withdrawn by coach Matthew Elliott after 52 minutes.
A quick-fire double by the Warriors piled further misery on the Broncos with David Fusitu’a (64th minute) and Sam Tomkins (69th) both crossing to extend the score to 38-4.
Konrad Hurrell helped himself to a double inside the last 10 minutes as the unrelenting Warriors stretched the scoreboard out to 48-4 at full-time.
Warriors 48 (Glen Fisiiahi 2, Konrad Hurrell 2, Shaun Johnson, Charlie Gubb, Carlos Tuimavave, David Fusitu’a, Sam Tomkins tries; Johnson 4, Chad Townsend 2 goals) def. Broncos 4 (Jack Reed try) at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin. Halftime: 22-4 Warriors.