The Warriors’ late-season charge towards the finals continued to gain velocity following a 48-0 crushing of the Parramatta Eels on Saturday night.
In recording their biggest victory of the season, the Warriors firmed their position in the heavily congested competition top eight, and gave themselves a healthy confidence boost ahead of tough clashes against the Broncos and Sea Eagles over the next two weeks.
Fluid in attack and relentless in defence, it is the latter which will be most pleasing for the New Zealanders, given they had conceded an average of 21 points per match prior to round 18.
The game also saw 2014 star recruit Sam Tomkins play his best game in a Warriors jersey, running for over 100 metres, breaking the line on three occasions and adding an assist to his personal brace of tries.
At Mount Smart Stadium for a third consecutive game, the Warriors produced an opening 40 minutes straight out of coach Andrew McFadden’s dreams, scoring 36 unanswered points and completing at 91 per cent as they ran the Eels ragged.
Rookie winger David Fusitua got the scoring underway after just three minutes and two sets with the ball, before Shaun Johnson and Tomkins added their own contributions to make it 18-0 before the match was even a quarter old.
In the last two weeks the final 20 minutes of the first period had been where the Warriors slacked off and allowed their opponents back into the contest, but what followed was something very different.
Johnson was at the forefront again just before the half hour mark, spotting a slight gap and accelerating through before finding Konrad Hurrell, who celebrated his 50th NRL game with a try. A fourth conversion from Johnson had the Warriors scoring nearly a point a minute at 24-0.
What followed was a blast from the past, the Warriors overpowering the Parramatta pack to win a scrum against the feed, with Tomkins scooping the pill and going over for his second from close range.
Three minutes from oranges the English international turned provider, breaking through a Corey Norman tackle and passing inside for captain Simon Mannering to go over.
At 36-0 the Warriors had hardly put a foot wrong and all but had a third-straight win in the bag.
A 15 minute break in scoring gave Parramatta a small reprieve to start the second half, before Ben Henry, who was a late call up to the starting side for the injured Jayson Bukuya, resumed normal service to score the Warriors’ seventh.
A Chad Townsend four-pointer with 17 remaining finished off the scoring, as the Warriors showed discipline to repel a final 15 minute period of pressure from the Eels to win 48-0.
Warriors 48 (Fusitua, Johnson, Tomkins x2, Hurrell, Mannering, Henry, Townsend tries; Johnson 8 goals) defeated Eels 0 at Mount Smart Stadium. Crowd: 14,087.