Warriors v Raiders: Five key points
The Warriors beat the Raiders 30-8 on Saturday night to record their second consecutive 22-point victory. Here are five key points from the game at Mt Smart Stadium.
Johnson stars after overcoming back complaint
Not many knew just how close Shaun Johnson came to missing the clash, after suffering a back injury which kept him out of yesterday's final training session.
The concern was serious enough to prompt Jonathan Wright being pulled from the club's NSW Cup game earlier in the day as cover, but Johnson recovered in time to play a starring role.
The 2014 Golden Boot's effort included 138 run metres, a line break, two try assists and a four-pointer of his own.
"I was pretty sore yesterday and wasn't able to do the captain's run. I looked after it and the physios did a good job," Johnson said.
"It did [bother me during the match], but I guess when you are in the middle of it all you don't really think about it, it's just when you stop – when the ball goes dead or scrums – it goes back to it."
For Warriors, the eight is more pleasing than the 30
Scoring five tries in an NRL match is no mean feat, but Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said holding their opposition to just one try was the most pleasing aspect of his team's performance.
"Obviously very good, we kept the best attacking team in the competition to eight points," McFadden said.
"I think both last week and this week have been similar themes. We build pressure through our kick game and defensive effort, and then out points come off the back of that."
Winger Tuimoala Lolohea, who had a double on the night, echoed his coach's thoughts.
"Probably our defence [was most pleasing], they are the best attacking team in the comp so for them to score eight points it showed you that our defence was pretty spot on today," Lolohea said.
"We had to play tough today, that was our main goal."
It was the second fewest points the Warriors have conceded in a game all year, bettered only by their performance against the Raiders back in Round 2 when they leaked just six.
A Warriors side who complete are a different beast
The Warriors managed to complete at over 80 per cent on Saturday night, for just the third time since Round 8.
As a result they were able to dominate possession and make 120 fewer tackles than their opposition.
With so much strike across the park the Warriors were always going to be tough to beat if they could complete over three quarters of their sets, but according to McFadden the message only got through to the team over the last few weeks.
"The penny has just dropped on what works for us," he said.
"That's what happens when you don't make errors in your own half.
"We are keeping it tidy at the moment, our completion rate is high and obviously we are rolling through because of that."
Going into last weekend the Warriors had the equal-worst record for completed sets in the Telstra Premiership.
Raiders' left-side struggles
Of the 30 points Canberra conceded at Mt Smart Stadium 22 of them came as a result of leaks on their left edge.
Missed tackles by captain Jarrod Croker on each of the Warriors' opening two tries, plus a team failure to defuse Shaun Johnson's grubber which led to Tuimoala Lolohea's second try, made for ugly viewing.
"Two individual misses for two tries, that's all they had in the first half," Croker said post game.
"Two individual misses from myself and I think another one Shillo [David Shillington] on Johnson which was a mismatch.
"A try off a kick and one off an intercept, we just can't do that."
On the flip side McFadden said it was pleasing to see his right have some success with the ball in hand.
"It is nice that they are starting to get some rewards for the possession we are having," McFadden said.
"I thought Tui [Lolohea] did a terrific job as well, hopefully we can consolidate our combinations and build a bit of momentum."
Too much tackling two weeks in a row
For the second week in a row the Raiders were forced to make over 400 tackles, with Saturday's tally making it 828 in the space of seven days.
After the game Stuart said it would always be tough to get a result against those numbers.
"Yeah it's hard, it's been the last two weeks," he said.
"That weight of possession it's always going to be very hard, especially against a quality team like the Warriors.
"We probably made enough tackles over the last two games for four games when you look at the stats.
"The amount of possession we had to defend in the first 40 probably hurt us in the overall game."