Warriors bounce back to smash Bulldogs
The Warriors survived an early scare to pile on a massive score against an inexperienced Bulldogs side at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
A huge roar greeted the home-crowd favourites but it was the Dogs who made all the early running. Tyrone Phillips pushed through the defensive line and galloped away for the first try and when rookie half Matt Frawley's pass put towering back-rower Shaun Lane over just before half-time a boilover was on the cards, but late call-up Nathaniel Roache put the Warriors on the board seconds before half-time when he scythed straight through for a solo try.
A Sam Lisone pass for veteran half Jeff Robson's try early in the second half put the home side in front before some traditional Warriors magic opened the floodgates. A beautiful step from fan favourite Shaun Johnson and a great pass from new recruit Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was skilfully finished off by Solomone Kata just inside the corner post.
Tuivasa-Sheck produced another precision ball moments later to hand Kata his double before the unheralded Roache earned himself a second try with a brilliant show-and-go from a standing start.
The biggest cheer of the day so far came when Johnson received a gift of an intercept from Bulldogs back-rower Tony Williams right on full-time to race away and produce some vintage footwork at the tryline to turn a four-point try into five.
After getting a late call-up in the place of the injured David Fusitu'a, Roache exceeded expectations with his double.
"I only found out yesterday that I was playing after David Fusitu'a got injured. But I am just happy to be playing and to get my chance. I just got lucky with the two tries man, when you are surrounded by good players like that it's not hard to do well," Roache said.
"Once we got on the front foot everyone just fed off each other, we were getting the offloads away and everything was good."
New Zealand Warriors 34 (Kata 2, Roache 2, Robson, Johnson tries) def Canterbury Bulldogs (Phillips, Lane tries).