All the reaction from the media, fans and the Warriors themselves after the unbelievable win in Canberra on Saturday.
What the Warriors said
It was a bit more difficult to keep a lid on emotions after such a spectacular comeback than it was after the comfortable wins of the opening two rounds.
Stephen Kearney praised his team for not letting the game get away from them after they fell behind by double digits in each half. The coach also addressed the early avalanche of penalties against the Warriors and said he didn’t think Adam Blair had a case to answer for the late shot on Aidan Sezer that saw him sin-binned.
Both Kearney and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck admitted it was “right up there” as far as the most momentous victories go, both personally and for the club.
“They all believed it was there" RTS
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) March 25, 2018
Meanwhile, match-winner Shaun Johnson – one of the most refreshing interview subjects in the cliché-driven NRL – gave a typically frank assessment of his incredible clutch plays.
“Sometimes you need a bit of luck on your side and I definitely think I had that tonight,” Johnson said.
“There’s been times in my career where I haven’t been able to step up and nail those kicks so it’s really nice to get on the bus back to Sydney knowing that I could come up with that play at that time of the game for my teammates.
“We made it very tough on ourselves but the resilience we showed to stay in the game and come up with plays like that at the back end, we’ve got to really enjoy it.”
What the Raiders said
The king of deflecting attention away from the mental frailties of his team and his own poor coaching, Ricky Stuart blamed the heart-breaking loss to the Warriors on the NRL, its CEO Todd Greenberg and the state of confusion the league has consigned the game’s referee’s to.
Central to Stuart’s grievances were inconsistencies around the obstruction rule and the Bunker’s decision to deny a Junior Paulo try that would have put the Raiders up 25-6 – but it was a pretty cut and dried no-try call.
Oh, and he also said the Raiders were the better team.
“It should’ve been 25-6 because that obstruction try was a try. We lost a game last week on an obstruction try that we thought was obstruction, but no it was a try,” Stuart said.
“We have not identified what’s an obstruction in this game. And I’ll get called a whinger and a sook, but that doesn’t worry me what people think and say about me.
“We as a game have not got a handle on what is an obstruction, they’re guessing.
“Apparently, I was told that Todd’s come out and he’s instructing the referees and don’t blame the referees. I’m not blaming the referees because the referees don’t know either, poor buggers.
“I’ll be waiting for Todd to ring me and tell me … what an obstruction is. I want him to look at last week’s obstruction where we lost the game over it, I want him to have a look at this week’s obstruction where it takes it to 25-6 and tell me what the difference is.”
— Triple M NRL (@TripleM_NRL) March 24, 2018
If you hadn’t seen the game, there would have been no way to tell from the press conference that the Warriors were the Raiders’ opponents on Saturday – he didn’t mention them at all.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Sticky’s’ rant was widely condemned.
Peter Sterling calls out Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart on blaming NRL for loss https://t.co/xTSuDsLnPL
— Joe (@joe_sydney) March 25, 2018
What the fans said
Warriors supporters were understandably buzzing after the nerve-shredding win in Canberra. Here’s a selection of TWL’s followers’ post-match thoughts:
But there’s still a couple of pessimists/realists to keep the more excitable among us in check:
And if you weren’t bouncing around your lounge after Shaun Johnson slotted his second field goal like these blokes, do you even like life?
What the NZ media said
NZ Herald’s Dale Budge described the win as ‘The greatest Warriors comeback of all time’ – hard to disagree, though TWL would still have the 2011 finals fight-back against Wests Tigers in top spot.
Herald stablemate David Skipwith highlighted Shaun Johnson’s efforts in the clutch and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s assertion that the Warriors’ start to the season shows the maligned club is on the right track.
Stuff’s Marvin France provided a breathless account of the Warriors’ ‘miracle’ win, while also celebrating the club’s remarkable streak of creating history in each of their three victories to date in 2018.
The Aussie cricket ball-tampering scandal hijacked Tony Veitch’s weekend, but he was still suitably pumped after fulltime on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Hamish Bidwell is still pretending the Warriors don’t exist anymore, despite finding time to wade into the much less interesting debate around the panel chosen by the NZRL to pick the next Kiwis coach.
— Grimace T. Jackson (@BigFunk__) March 24, 2018
What the Aussie media said
Load up on the Warriors, The Mole says we’re the real deal!
— The Mole (@9_Moley) March 24, 2018
— The Mole (@9_Moley) March 24, 2018
Otherwise, it was pretty hard to get so much as a tweet about the unbeaten Warriors from across the ditch.