Warriors thrash Titans to stay in race
The Warriors' finals hopes will go down to the very last game of the NRL regular season, after they crushed the Titans 42-0 in clinical fashion on Sunday afternoon.
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Few positives for humbled Titans
Warriors happy to have fate in their own hands again
The game delivered the best possible result for the Warriors, who held an opponent to zero for the second time in 2014.
Not only did the two points push them up equal with the sides vying for the remaining play-off positions, but the 42 points they clocked up also puts them right on the edge of the eight, trailing the Broncos by just seven points on differential.
The Kiwis will still likely face a must-win game against the Panthers at Sportingbet Stadium next week, but their destiny is now largely in their own hands.
After suffering their biggest defeat of the season against the Roosters only seven days earlier, the Warriors attacked with purpose and defended with determination at Mount Smart Stadium, recording a shut-out against an injury-riddled Titans side who had little to play for.
The only potential blemish for the New Zealanders in their final home game of the year was winger Ngani Laumape finding himself on report in the 56th minute following a scuffle with Greg Bird.
Already missing five first-choice backline members, the Warriors can ill-afford to lose Laumape ahead of next week's trip to Penrith, and potentially beyond.
Throughout 2014 the Warriors have been by far the best team across the opening 10 minutes of games, having scored the most points (80) and conceded the second-fewest (26) in that period.
They continued that trend by going over twice in the opening 10, first through Ben Henry on just their second set of the game, followed by centre Dominique Peyroux who scored against his former club.
Shaun Johnson converted both for a 12-0 lead.
The Titans' lack of organisation in defence directly contributed to the next Warriors try.
Caught without a marker at dummy half, the Titans were powerless as Nathan Friend darted over from 10 metres to ensure the New Zealanders kept pace with the clock in terms of points per minute.
By the quarter mark the home side had spent all but four minutes of the match in the opposition's half, and off the back of a string of Gold Coast errors they scored two more tries before the break.
Fullback Sam Tomkins went over on 34 minutes following a Tom Kingston error, and on the next set Konrad Hurrell made it 30-0 heading into the sheds.
Just as they had in the first period the Warriors began the second half with a bang by scoring 12 points in the opening 10 minutes.
Both Tomkins and Johnson went over before the 50th-minute mark to stretch the lead to 42 points.
The final half hour saw the visitors finally receive some possession inside the opposition's half, where they produced the type of free-flowing football you would expect from a side with nothing to play for.
But while the Titans' expansive and offload-heavy attack was impressive, so too was the stoic Warriors defence, which scrambled well to keep the Gold Coast off the scoreboard.
The result leaves the Kiwi side with a great chance of squeezing into the top eight in time for the finals if they can snatch another win next weekend.
The Titans meanwhile will finish off a miserable season at home against the Bulldogs, with nothing but pride on offer.
Warriors 6 (Henry, Peyroux, Friend Tomkins x2, Hurrell, Johnson tries; Johnson 7 goals) defeated Titans 0 at Mount Smart Stadium. Crowd: 13,540.