Warriors hold on to down Roosters
The Warriors’ mid-season revival continued after they picked up a third-consecutive victory on Sunday night, grinding past a dogged Roosters side 12-10.
It took the Kiwi outfit 63 minutes to score a try, and in the end it was the only one they needed, as the Shaun Johnson effort – combined with four goals from Issac Luke – got the Warriors home in front of 14,026 fans at Mt Smart Stadium.
They may have been wearing their 2002 heritage jersey, but this was no vintage performance from Andrew McFadden’s side.
After scoring a combined 86 points in their last two matches, the Warriors looked disjointed in attack as the Roosters repeatedly limited their quick play the balls, appearing prepared to concede penalties in the ruck rather than risk the Warriors gaining momentum in their sets.
The Roosters finished on the wrong side of a 10-3 penalty count, but remained in the game right until the end thanks to some spirited goal-line defence.
Losing veteran five-eighth Thomas Leuluai to a head knock before the game was even 10 minutes old didn’t help the Warriors, causing a backline reshuffle which saw bench hooker Nathaniel Roache forced to play the remainder of the match on the right wing.
As the match hit the 20-minute mark momentum was with the Roosters, and Joseph Manu looked to have scored a try on debut when he beat Ken Maumalo to a loose ball in the in-goal area.
After several checks from the NRL Bunker it was deemed no try, but the Roosters didn’t leave the play empty handed, with Maumalo being sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.
The Roosters made the most of their numerical advantage on the field immediately, crossing via Mitchell Aubusson after some second-phase created space on the left edge.
Playing with a man down the Warriors then elected to take the two points following yet another penalty in front of their sticks, eating up some valuable time and reducing the Roosters’ lead to 4-2 at half-time.
Ruck infringements from the Roosters in consecutive sets saw the Warriors boot a pair of penalties, and assume a 6-4 lead with 25 to go.
The home side then blew the chance to go further in front minutes later when Solomone Kata dropped the ball over the line.
But 15 minutes from time the Warriors finally broke the Roosters’ staunch defence with a piece of individual skill from their No.7.
After spotting a gap 10 metres out from the line Johnson pushed through and rounded Latrell Mitchell to battle over for a four-pointer which, after Luke’s conversion, stretched the lead out to two scoring plays at 12-4.
But the Roosters weren’t done, and after several offloads in a row Isaac Liu broke free and passed to Connor Watson for a try, which Sio Siua Taukeiaho converted to lower the Tricolours' deficit to two as the final 10 minutes approached.
But the home side survived a couple of last-ditch raids to secure a 12-10 win, which marks their seventh victory of 2016 and edges them closer to a spot in the NRL Telstra Premiership top eight.
Warriors 12 (Shaun Johnson try; Issac Luke 4 goals) defeated Sydney Roosters 10 (Mitchell Aubusson, Connor Watson tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 1 goal) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 14,026. Half-time: Roosters 4-2. Sin bin: Ken Maumalo (professional foul). On report: Toafofoa Sipley (Warriors).