See how the Warriors, the Cowboys, the fans, and the media here and across the ditch reacted to Saturday’s result at a packed Mount Smart:
What the Warriors said
Buzzed by the crowd, impressed again with the attitude and commitment of the team, slightly disappointed with the errors in their own half and inability to execute on attack in the second stanza – but overall a very chipper press conference with Stephen Kearney and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
"Just on the crowd, I thought it was wonderful" Kearney
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) April 7, 2018
"Our middles just kept working, you just feed off them" Johnson
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) April 7, 2018
Kearney also revealed Simon Mannering wasn’t far off being back in the starting pack, while the humble club legend was just happy to be in the 17 for his first appearance of the season.
"I was just stoked to be in the side" Mannering
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) April 8, 2018
What the Cowboys said
Nearing crisis point after four straight defeats, Paul Green and Johnathan Thurston were surprisingly upbeat post-match despite the Cowboys appearing very flat and bereft of ideas on attack.
Green lamented his side’s slow start, which saw the Warriors race out to an 18-0 lead, and their ebbing confidence.
Curiously, the coach said on multiple occasions that the Cowboys were the better side for the entire second half. Sure they were…
— NQ Cowboys (@nthqldcowboys) April 7, 2018
What the Tigers said
Kiwi legend Benji Marshall ensured it would be a double-header to remember before the Warriors even took the field, slotting the match-winning field goal with five minutes left as Wests Tigers edged Melbourne 11-10.
It was a rare opportunity for the Mount Smart faithful to revel in Benji’s heroics without it being at the expense of their Warriors.
— NRL (@NRL) April 7, 2018
At the Tigers’ press conference TWL got the chance to ask Marshall if he ever thought he’d get the chance to have a moment like that in New Zealand again, and to ask Ivan Cleary if he enjoyed having Benji on his side at the ground after the five-eighth wizard singlehandedly led the Tigers back from 18 points down to beat the Cleary-coached Warriors in a famous/infamous 2011 clash.
It was the perfect entrée for the former Warrior-stacked Tigers’ Round 9 visit to Mount Smart.
Bonus: this high-quality showing from Wests Tigers’ media team:
— Wests Tigers (@WestsTigers) April 7, 2018
What the fans said
Warriors supporters were in raptures not only over the team’s performance and their unprecedented start to 2018, but also a special night at Mount Smart Stadium with over 25,000 fans in attendance – surely one of the greatest occasions in the club’s history.
Meanwhile, the ‘bandwagon’ debate reared its head – largely thanks to one long-time fan, a piece of cardboard, some paint and an emoji.
What the NZ media said
‘Ain’t no party like a Mt Smart party’ began NZ Herald’s David Skipwith’s wrap of the Warriors crowd-pleasing win over the Cowboys.
As ‘Skippy’s’ headline confirmed, the Warriors are suddenly the hottest ticket in town.
The Herald’s Michael Burgess highlighted the ‘nervy’ moments in the Warriors’ tough but far-from-perfect performance.
This closing line summed up the confidence building up around the Warriors in Kiwi media circles, however: ‘The Warriors have banked five successive wins for the first time since 2013, and expectation is only going to increase. Bring it on.’
— Michael Burgess (@mikeburgess99) April 7, 2018
Stuff’s David Long praised the passion and guts shown by the Warriors on a huge occasion, despite their attack not reaching the same heights as the previous week’s thrashing of the Roosters.
Long is also looking increasingly like pulling off one of the great Nostradamus efforts in rugby league journalism history. This piece is from February:
Just putting this reminder out there. Why the Warriors will win the NRL premiership in 2018 https://t.co/C6kGPnDneJ
— David Long (@davidlongffx) March 24, 2018
The considered player ratings from our pals at Kiwi League Central made TWL feel like a whore for dishing out so many 7s and 8s.
— KiwiLeagueCentral (@KiwiLeague) April 7, 2018
Sitting alongside these Warriors-covering stalwarts in the Mount Smart press box on Saturday, it was impossible to not feel a deep sense of satisfaction for them.
These journos, all great fellas, have plugged away in recent years scrimping for any sliver of a positive angle to write about the club, while dutifully covering the negatives with balance and professionalism. For once, the positive pieces are pretty much writing themselves – and you can see in their faces and their stories that it’s a welcome relief.
At the other end of the scale, Hamish Bidwell continues to bury himself in Hurricanes matters since there’s nothing negative to write about the Warriors these days. But the Twittersphere won’t let him forget one of the least insightful articles of 2018:
— damn (@Helwinter) April 7, 2018
What the Aussie media said
FoxSports’ Tony Webeck revealed, via Cooper Cronk, that it’s all about focus for the Warriors.
Of the 19 different jersey designs the Warriors have, this one is definitely in my top 10. #NRLWarriorsCowboys
— Tony Webeck (@TonyWebeck) April 7, 2018
A great piece from the well-travelled Matt Cleary about the simple reasons behind the Warriors’ surprise rise:
‘Buzz’ Rothfield continues to repent:
— BUZZ ROTHFIELD (@BuzzRothfield) April 7, 2018
And Big League editor Pam Whaley (one of the most witty rugby league types on Twitter, btw) is equally ready to admit she was misguided in writing off the Warriors.
— Pam Whaley (@PamelaWhaley) April 7, 2018
Meanwhile, ‘Bulldog’ Ritchie stayed true to form with a characteristically pointless, uninformed and poorly researched dig at the Warriors, saying ‘they’ve been a dud club for 23 years’ while predicting they will crash and burn out of finals contention.
TWL are relishing the prospect of rubbing Bulldog’s nose in his own shit writing.
Bulldog's Bite: The New Zealand Warriors' collapse will be seismic and spectacular https://t.co/q2tODc3db4
— Dean Ritchie (@BulldogRitchie) April 3, 2018
— Sporting News Australia (@sportingnewsau) April 4, 2018
Bonus: flashback to when TWL’s Will Evans savaged Ritchie on Commentary Box Sports for his chronically unenlightened swipe at the Kiwis’ haka last year.
— Andrew Marmont (@SportSideways) May 9, 2017