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If someone had said pre-game the Warriors would pump the Roosters 30-6 without Shaun Johnson, and with Agnatius Paasi and Bunty Afoa as their starting prop pairing, you’d assume they were on acid or stronger.

If they’d said pre-season the Warriors would do that to the premiership favourites in Sydney in Round 4, you’d send said boastful Warriors fan straight to a padded room.

But the 2018 Warriors are simply finding new ways to thrill their fans and confound the rugby league world at large. Every week there’s a new string of ‘first time the Warriors have done X since Y’ stats.

This week, it’s the Warriors have racked up four straight wins for the first time since 2013, and they’ve now won three consecutive games on the road for the first time since 2011.

But that only tells part of this blistering narrative.

There’s no stronger way to put their authoritative demolition of the Chooks than to say it was among the top half-dozen regular season victories in the Warriors’ 23-and-a-bit-seasons.

Johnson’s replacement, Mason Lino, was magnificent, Blake Green, Issac Luke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and co were also excellent, and the forward pack, to a man, was inspirational. The Roosters were poor – but their opposition didn’t allow them to be anything more.

Their start certainly didn’t hint at one of the most momentous performances in the club’s history though.

The opening three minutes was a disturbing time warp back to 2017: a knock-on from Luke in the Warriors’ first set, before their right-side defence was easily outflanked as Latrell Mitchell blazed over in the corner.

But the depleted visitors steadied, and fittingly it was Lino who crossed for the Warriors’ opener in the 11th minute from a superb Tohu Harris offload.

That was just a taster. A wonderful Lino kick earned a repeat set, before a deft Adam Blair pass saw Leivaha Pulu stroll through for his first try as a Warrior.

Soon afterwards it was an shock 18-4 scoreline as Solomone Kata proved too hot to handle out wide and Lino’s radar off the goalkicking tee remained on-line.

The Warriors’ first-half performance at the other end proved just as rousing. The possession worm turned and the home side applied the blowtorch – but the Warriors turned up tackle after tackle, repelling several Roosters sets on their own try-line.

After yet another penalty – with the Warriors lucky not to have someone sent to the bin – the Roosters slotted two points on the stroke of halftime to bring the deficit down to 12.

If someone had said at the start of the second half that the Roosters would be held scoreless…well, you know the drill.

The Warriors weathered another early storm in the second stanza and gradually wrested control again through their rugged defence and purposeful attack.

A Lino penalty restored the 14-point advantage, before the fill-in wearing the No.18 hoisted a bomb for David Fusitu’a to spectacularly climb and notch his NRL-high fifth try of 2018 in the 58th minute.

Enterprise dwindled as the final quarter wore on, but the Warriors’ dominance didn’t. Lino capped a five-star display with two late penalty goals – and a stunning 30-6 final score. The Roosters never looked like chipping away at the gap.

The Warriors came into the game painted as a backs-to-the-wall team given little chance of victory; they left Allianz Stadium as a bona fide contender.

Gonna need a bigger bandwagon.


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Categories: Previews + Reviews, WARRIORS NEWS

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2 replies

  1. Great read. It was an amazing performance all round by everyone and was really impressed with Bunty, Mason and Blair. Looking forward to the rest of the season

  2. KATA!

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