Johnson late show seals win
A very late piece of Shaun Johnson magic has averted a shock early exit for home town favourites the Warriors who managed to scramble to a 15-8 win over the Broncos, ending Canterbury's tournament in the process.
Speaking after the win, Johnson said his game-winning try was even more special given he spent the back end of last year out with a serious ankle injury.
"It's really special, when I was injured on the couch days like today are the days you miss and playing those moments are the moments you miss," Johnson said.
"To come up with something at a key time like that, those are what I pride myself on.
"Our pool was really tough with some really good sides and now we look forward to the next game."
Along with his Brisbane teammates Adam Blair was unable to stop Johnson, but the prop maintained his side gave a good account of themselves against the Auckland-based outfit.
"I was trying to run across in cover, you can see it all panning out for him and you just need one person to do the wrong thing and Shaun can make something out of nothing," Blair said.
"I thought that was our best game, but he just got us in the end there, Shauny. This tournament is made for him and that just showed what he can do when he gets a bit of space in front of him."
Spreading the ball prolifically right from the get-go, the Warriors were unlucky not to score 90 seconds in when Henare Wells couldn't ground a Ryan Hoffman grubber. Instead Bronco Jamayne Isaako got the first four-pointer when he was on the end of well-worked left side shift with a couple of cut-outs in the lead-up.
A quick tap and long-range line break from Tui Lolohea looked to have set up Wells but the play was called back for a forward pass but Nathaniel Roache got there shortly after with a great scoot from dummy half to make it four apiece.
A wonderful running set from the Broncos finished with a Todd Murphy try shortly before the break for an 8-4 half-time lead.
A stunning Shaun Johnson cut-out made it third time lucky for Wells, who finally got his name on the score sheet to level up at 8-all.
When Darius Boyd failed to pass a Brisbane try went begging and the Warriors returned the favour when a rampaging Konrad Hurrell failed to find Wells in support and a brave ball-and-all tackle from youngster Jonus Pearson saved the day.
With the clock ticking down, the drawn score threatened to end the Warriors' tournament. Things got increasingly tense, the crowd's disappointment was palpable, the Warriors started considering a field goal but couldn't get in range before launching a final charge.
Brisbane's scrambling defence looked to have held firm but the ball ended up in the hands of magic man Johnson who stepped, stopped, stepped and went again and somehow beat virtually the entire Broncos side to dance in under the posts for a seven-point try and send the home crowd into raptures.
New Zealand Warriors 15 (Roache, Wells, Johnson tries) def. Brisbane Broncos 8 (Isaako, Murphy tries).