Warriors rapt with defence in shutout
His side may have piled on eight tries and 48 points in a romp of the Eels on Saturday night, but it was the zero on the scoreboard which pleased Warriors coach Andrew McFadden the most.
“I was really pleased with the way we held them out,” he said following the 48-0 win at Mount Smart Stadium - the side's first shutout since a 13-0 win over the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 14, 2009.
“We had a zero scoreline against and that is probably the big one. The 48 points is one thing but not conceding any points is the big one for us.
“I think that’s probably the best we have played in terms of sticking to our plan, we obviously scored some points off the back of that and we took our opportunities.”
The Warriors missed only 14 of their 229 tackles, with the effort ranking among their best of the season and showing drastic improvement after conceding a mammoth 37 in their previous game against the Panthers.
Line speed was a key feature, and caused a handful of Parramatta errors as the imposing Warriors dominated the visitors in group tackles.
After taking a 36-0 lead into the break the New Zealanders knew the biggest battle in the second period would be maintaining their discipline on the defensive end of the field.
With the game already effectively over, captain Simon Mannering said the message at the break was clear and he was pleased the side responded positively.
“At half time we had a goal to put that first 40 behind us and start over again,” said Mannering, who got over for his seventh try of the season late in the second half.
“That was the most pleasing thing; that we kept fighting until the end.
“When you are getting down to the last few minutes the last thing you want to do is let in a try; that sort of puts a dampener on things.
“They put us under pressure at the back end there, we knew they would start to try a few things and it was great scramble from the boys.
“It was good practice from us, the game wasn’t necessarily on the line but there might be a time where that is the case.
“Sometimes the perfect defence at the end is great scramble.
“The most pleasing thing was the zero points; we were offensively good but the most pleasing thing was the defence.”
Individually Nathan Friend and Ben Henry stood up on the defensive front, topping the Warriors’ tackle count for the second consecutive game with 37 and 25 respectively.
Seven Warriors also went through the contest without a single miss, as the improved individual performances contributed to the shut-out victory.
Meanwhile the Warriors appear to have got through the 80 minutes without any injury worries, with coach Andrew McFadden thankful for the circumstances which allowed him to rest prop Jacob Lillyman for the final 55 minutes of the match.
Lillyman was backing up from Wednesday night's State of Origin fixture, where he played 47 minutes in Queensland’s 32-8 victory over the Blues.
“I rested Jacob Lillyman after 25 minutes and he didn’t go back on, which meant other guys had to pick up the slack, McFadden said.
“Ben Matulino, Sam Lousi and Charlie Gubb all got valuable time, which we needed them to.”