Warriors v Storm: Five key points
The Warriors produced some attacking brilliance and defensive steel to beat the Storm 28-14 on Sunday afternoon, lifting themselves further up the ladder in the process.
Freakish Warriors efforts
The Warriors produced a leading candidate for try of the year in the 57th minute, as hooker Nathan Friend turned gymnast to create something out of an otherwise ordinary looking cross-field kick.
After leaping high to latch on to Chad Townsend's bomb, Friend pushed the ball out between his legs while completing a forward summersault.
From there Sam Tomkins picked it up, passed to Shaun Johnson, before receiving the ball back via a flick pass and moving it on to David Fusitu'a, who threw the final pass to Tuimoala Lolohea.
From there Lolohea still had work to do, contorting his body between the sideline and three Storm defenders to finish off the spectacular team effort.
Late inclusion Jonathan Wright said he was awestruck watching it unfold.
"I didn’t know if I was watching the right game, I thought I was watching AFL and big Buddy Franklin," he said.
"But it was awesome mate, that's what we can do. We always know we can do that."
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said on a different occasion he would have enjoyed the astonishing effort himself.
"They scored some tries that would have been great to watch if you were on the other side tonight, but I didn’t particularly enjoy them myself," he said.
Offloads a killer
The Storm may have finished the night with more offloads than their opponents, but the Warriors' timing and execution in getting the ball away was far superior.
The hosts had 10 offloads, most of which came in the first half, and prop Jesse Bromwich singled it out as a crucial difference in the match.
"We knew they had a strong offloading game and that we needed to stop that," Bromwich said.
"They had too many at the start of the game and I guess that's where it hurt us right at the end there.
"It does make you tired chasing offloads, especially when they have got guys like Shaun [Johnson] and Sam Tomkins off the back of it.
"They are a tough team when they play like that."
Warrior Ben Matulino led the Telstra Premiership in offloads heading into Round 18 with 39.
Storm enter unfamiliar territory
In losing on Sunday afternoon the Storm fell to four-consecutive losses for the first time since Rounds 16-20 of season 2012.
It is foreign ground for the majority of the 2015 squad, and captain Cameron Smith said it all starts with their attitude.
"Conceding 28 points is never good enough at this level, it's pretty hard to win a football game when you have 28 points on the scoreboard against you," he said.
"I think we just need to have a bit of an attitude readjustment towards our football."
Bromwich was at a loss to explain the slump, but said nothing would change in his personal preparation ahead of next week's game against the Panthers.
"We obviously need to change something, I just don't know what," he told NRL.com.
"We will be working on a few things this week.
"For me personally I will be doing the same thing I do every week."
Warriors do it without three frontline players
The Warriors admitted mid-week that beating the Storm would be a huge boost to their hopes of playing finals footy, but to do it without three representative players is another thing altogether.
With Konrad Hurrell suffering an arm injury at training during the week, Ryan Hoffman failing to recover from a calf injury sustained in Origin III and Manu Vatuvei out with a shoulder injury the makeshift Warriors stood up.
Right centre Fusitu'a had two line breaks and two try assists, while fellow late inclusions Wright and Sione Lousi also stood up in the victory.
"Whoever fills in and whoever is playing the job can still be done," Wright told NRL.com.
"Hoffy is a big part of our team and so is big Manu, so it's good to see the boys stick to our processes and work together to get the points."
On the injury front Hurrell and Vatuvei are chances to line up next week against the Roosters, while Hoffman will likely be at least a week longer on the sidelines.
Individual efforts on defence prove inspirational
The attacking brilliance will grab most of the headlines, but the Warriors were perhaps equally impressive on the defensive side of the ball.
Twice they rallied to hold Storm players up over the line, while both edges produced try-saving efforts on a number of occasions.
Left wing Wright stopped two certain tries in the final three minutes of the first half, while Lolohea also came up with a textbook effort on Marika Koroibete to bundle him into touch early.
After the game Wright said that was the most pleasing aspect of the win.
"That was the main focus for the whole team and I thought we came up with some good plays in both halves to keep them out," he said.
"A few times young Tui and 'Fus' [Fusitu'a] dragged blokes out and Solomone [Kata] and I raced over to pat them on the back.
"We want to reward each other for good efforts that build confidence in the team."