A defensive shutout highlighted the New Zealand Warriors’ six-tries-to-none 30-0 win against Queensland Cup side Burleigh in Saturday’s NRL trial at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.
After conceding just an unconverted try in their 24-4 victory over Parramatta last week, the Warriors sustained their defensive effort for the entire contest this time while scoring three tries in each half.
With a number of the club’s more experienced NRL players not used for this match, there was a youthful look about the side for much of the game. Hooker Shaun Berrigan, prop and captain for the day Sam Rapira, fellow front rower Ben Matulino, centre Krisnan Inu and second rower Ukuma Ta’ai all started but saw little or no game time after half time as coach Ivan Cleary tested out his depth and looked at various options.
Junior Warriors Carlos Tuimavave, Omar Slaimankhel and Sam Lousi all played in an NRL trial for the first time and saw plenty of game time. They impressed, too, especially Lousi with his huge physical presence and his off loading ability.
Also appearing for the Warriors were Auckland Vulcans regulars Johnny Aranga and ShaunMetcalf. New Vulcans coach Richie Blackmore was keen for some of his players to experience being part of the Warriors’ set-up and the club obliged. Aranga played most of the second half at wing and then fullback while Metcalf did likewise in the centres.
With the most experienced line-up beginning the match, the Warriors scored twice in the opening quarter, fullback Kevin Locke the finisher both times. Playing on the right wing to start with he snared a James Maloney bomb for his first and then backed up a Maloney break to run 40 metres for his second.
Just before half time, Lousi off loaded to Elijah Taylor who freed up Krisnan Inu on the outside for a 50-metre run to the line. Inu’s conversion made it 16-0 at the break.
With various combinations used in the third quarter it took time for the side to settle, the fourth try not coming until the 58th minute but it would prove to be a moment to savour for Aranga as he was given an overlap to score in the corner.
Some lovely touches were involved as wing Fisiiahi and hooker Alehana Mara finished the scoring. Fisiiahi’s pace helped him to his fifth try in three trials.
The match served to present the coaching staff with plenty of selection posers ahead of the club’s final trial against Manly at North Harbour Stadium next Saturday and the season-opening ‘Battle of Eden’ against Parramatta at Eden Park on March 12. Across the field there is intense competition for all sports.
If that’s a positive so, too, is the fact the Warriors came through this trial without any evident injury concerns.
Warriors 30 (Kevin Locke 2, Krisnan Inu, Johnny Aranga, Glen Fisiiahi, Alehana Mara tries; James Maloney 2 conversions; Krisnan Inu conversion)Burleigh Bears 0
Half time: 16-0
Referees: Chris James and Adam Gee.
Crowd: 8500, at Toll Stadium, Whangarei