Slick Warriors thrash woeful Raiders
The Eden Park hoodoo is dead and the Warriors' 2014 season is back alive, following a comprehensive 54-12 victory over the Canberra Raiders on Saturday.
For most of the match the Warriors were exhilarating with the ball and unforgiving in defence, finally tasting victory at a stadium where they had lost all five of their previous matches, stretching back to Round 1 of the 2011 season.
Canberra on the other hand were down right woeful for the majority of the match.
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The Green Machine conceded four tries from movements starting in their opponents' half, in a performance all too reminiscent of their 54-18 thrashing at the hands of the Sea Eagles in Round 8.
The Warriors were blistering from the start, racking up 12 points before the clock had even turned past 10 minutes.
In his first game back from a rib injury Ben Matulino ran a fantastic line off Chad Townsend to score untouched after four.
The conversion which followed from Shaun Johnson had a little extra meaning, ticking over 10,000 points for the Kiwi club since their inception in 1995. It would also be the first of 26 points he would register on the night.
The Warriors' man of the moment, Konrad Hurrell, was next to score, putting to bed a difficult week by racing 60 metres for a try that had the 18,165 in attendance out of their seats.
Canberra weren't helping themselves either; a wayward Glen Buttriss pass was gleefully picked off by Johnson who scored under the posts and converted to make it 18-0 after as many minutes.
The Warriors were dominating almost every area of the game, enjoying a 65 per cent share of possession, but still couldn't avoid the Raiders clawing their way back into the contest.
Canberra pinned the Warriors in goal from the restart of play and Jarrod Croker out-leapt Ngani Laumape to score on following the set. Croker converted from out wide and it was 18-6.
A 32nd-minute scrum presented the next points scoring opportunity for the home side, who spread it wide for Laumape to dot down and ensure a 24-6 at the break.
It only took five minutes of the second period for the Warriors to teach Canberra an important lesson; don't drop the ball with Shaun Johnson around. The Kiwi international happily accepted another intercept and ran 90 metres for his second try.
Further tries to Tomkins and Vatuvei crushed the already dented Canberra spirit, before Hurrell set off on a barnstorming run downfield, finding Jayson Bukuya who registered his side's eighth try on 62 minutes.
Vatuvei crossed again with six minutes remaining, to ensure his night was more rocks than diamonds despite a spate of errors, and that the Warriors surpassed the half-century mark.
A last-minute try to Jarrod Croker, his second of the night, did little to numb the Raiders' pain.
The Warriors now have their eyes set on continuing their mid-season revival at next Sunday's 'away' game against the Bulldogs in Hamilton, while the Raiders make a long trip home where the Panthers await.
Warriors 54 (Matulino, Hurrell, Johnson 2, Laumape, Tomkins, Vatuvei 2, Bukuya tries; Johnson goals 9/9) def Raiders 12 (Croker 2 tries; Croker goals 2/2). Halftime: 24-6. Crowd: 18,165.