Right side firing again for Warriors

Through the opening rounds of the 2015 Telstra Premiership the Warriors' right edge couldn't buy a scoring opportunity.

It wasn't through lack of effort - the enthusiastic hands kept going up, pleading for the Steeden to be spun their way - but with defences dedicating more numbers to their left, in an attempt to close down Shaun Johnson, the space just wasn't there.

It meant that through the first month of the season players starting on the right edge scored just two of club's first 13 tries, while on the left Chad Townsend, Ryan Hoffman, Solomone Kata and Manu Vatuvei had 10 between them.

But in the last two weeks, as the Warriors enjoyed back-to-back 22-point victories over the Titans and then the Raiders, the other side have rediscovered their mojo.

Johnson is back to his mesmerising best, scoring three tries and setting up another three in the last fortnight, and on Saturday night against Canberra the right-side attack was a weapon used with great success.

Four of the Warriors' five tries came via that side, as Tuimoala Lolohea grabbed a double and Bodene Thompson crossed for a try in game 100, along with Johnson's effort in the 46th minute.

"Yeah, it's been a bit of a slow start to the season for us [on the right], but over the last month we have really started to click," Johnson told media following the 30-8 victory at Mt Smart Stadium.

"For us it's just about taking the opportunity.

"We build pressure early on and that usually opens it up later in the game.

"Both edges play so differently, our left is a bit more structured but we play what we see in front of us."

 

Having both flanks scoring makes an already intimidating Warriors' line up that bit more dangerous, and with their middle core of Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman and Simon Mannering performing as well it leaves opposing sides with nowhere to hide.

"I guess it gives us that multi-dimensional team look, I am still happy for Manu and Sol [Kata] to score plenty of tries, but it is nice to have some rewards for the possession we are having," coach Andrew McFadden added.

"They have been [combining well] for the last month or so, it was always going to take a little time.

"Konrad is only three games back as well, so he will get better and better.

"I thought Tui did a terrific job as well."

After crossing for his first career double against Canberra, 20-year-old Lolohea said it was a pleasure to play off the back of the magic created by Johnson.

"We had a lot of opportunities outside and Shauny stood up and led our edge pretty well," Lolohea said.

"I was pretty fortunate to score two tries; that’s a bonus for me.

"I thought our middles stood up to the challenge. We just had to make our plays on the edge."

Meanwhile 200-game man Jacob Lillyman spoke of his joy at reaching the mark in his 13th year of first grade, after overcoming injuries which threatened to derail his career in the early years.

"Obviously it's a pretty big milestone and it kind of snuck up on me to be honest," The Queensland State of Origin bookend said.

"It’s a very tough competition and a milestone I am very proud of.

"Everyone goes through the tough times, and I certainly had my fair share, especially early on [in my career.

 

"I think it makes you a stronger person and makes you appreciate things like this. I am very proud of it."