Johnson-inspired Warriors down Raiders

The Warriors have consolidated their spot in the top eight by thumping the Raiders 30-8 on Saturday night at Mt Smart Stadium.

Four of the hosts' five tries came via their lethal right edge, as they repeatedly exposed the defensive frailties of Jarrod Croker and Edrick Lee.

 

It was the second week in a row that the Kiwi side completed at over 80 per cent, dominating possession and running for over 600 metres more than their opponents. 

They also secured their second straight victory by a margin of 22 points, after beating the Titans 36-14 last week.

Second-rower Bodene Thompson celebrated his 100th Telstra Premiership game in style by opening the scoring on 12 minutes. The ensuing conversion from Shaun Johnson made it 6-0.

Heading into Round 16 the Raiders had scored tries than any other team in the Telstra Premiership, and they showed why by turning their first set inside the attacking 20 into points.

Back-to-back penalties put the Warriors on the back foot, before Auckland-born Sia Soliola produced a deft inside pass for a charging Jack Wighton to score. 

Captain Croker was on target to even things up, before booting a penalty seven minutes later to take an 8-6 lead.

Right on the half hour mark Croker missed a crucial tackle which led to points being conceded for the second time, getting bumped off by Konrad Hurrell who then popped an offload out to the waiting Tuimoala Lolohea.

When Soliola got caught spending too long in the tackle with seconds remaining in the half Johnson kicked the resulting penalty goal for a 14-8 lead at oranges.

Minutes into the second period Manu Vatuvei came agonisingly close to getting on the board, but was denied by the video ref.

The 13,110 strong crowd didn't have to wait long for the next try though, as first Johnson dummied his way through to score in the right corner, before grubbering to assist Lolohea's second try five minutes later. 

Trailing 24-8 heading into the final 20 Canberra did get a chance to lower the margin, but with the ball just metres out from the line they failed to get anyone to dummy-half, allowing the Warriors to dive on the ball and regather possession.

With three minutes to go Vatuvei latched onto a wayward Sam Williams long ball, running 30 metres for his 14th try in his last seven games against Canberra, icing the victory.

The Warriors now head into next week's bye assured of sitting in the top eight, and without any new significant injury concerns.

Canberra will also have a week off, before hosting the Knights in Round 18. 

Warriors 30 (Lolohea 2, Thompson, Johnson, Vatuvei tries; Johnson 5 goals) def. Raiders 8 (Wighton tries; Croker 2 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 13,110. Half-time: 14-8.