The Warriors’ rugged 22-12 win over the Cowboys on Saturday extended the club’s best-ever start to a season to 5-0. Of the 12 teams in the NRL era that have won their first five games prior to this year, 11 went on to finish in the top four.
It represents the first time the Warriors have won five straight since a mid-season burst in 2013. This weekend they are aiming for six straight for just the third time in the club’s history, and the first since a record eight-game streak in 2002.
The Warriors are ranked third in the NRL defensively, conceding just 65 points at 13 per game. That tally is the least conceded by the club across the first five rounds in their history. The Warriors also have the third-best attacking record in the competition, scoring points at a shade under 25 per game.
Meanwhile, the last time the Warriors were placed in the top two on the premiership ladder this deep into the season was when they won the 2002 minor premiership.
The Warriors are ranked first for offloads, third for all run metres, first for post-contact metres, equal-second for line-breaks and fourth for tackle-breaks.
Shaun Johnson’s 40/20 against the Cowboys took the Warriors’ season tally to three (Blake Green kicked the other two). No other team has managed more than one so far.
Johnson slotted five-from-five in the goalkicking stakes against the Cowboys, lifting his season average to 73.68% (14 goals from 19 attempts), while he also became the first Warriors player to pass 800 points for the club.
David Fusitu’a’s third double of the season has put him two clear of the NRL tryscoring field on seven (Canterbury’s Josh Morris is outright second on five).
No Warriors player has scored more than 17 tries in the last seven seasons; barring injury, Fusitu’a should cruise past that mark. He’s also well on track to become the first player since Manu Vatuvei in 2010 to post up a 20-try year for the Warriors. From there, it’s only another three meat pies to Francis Meli’s club record of 23, set in the 2003 season.
Fusitu’a has also put himself in the frame to become the first Warriors player ever to top the premiership’s tryscoring charts.
Meli was second in 2003, two behind Penrith fullback Rhys Wesser, while Vatuvei’s 2010 tally was just one behind co-leaders Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Akuila Uate. Sean Hoppe’s long-standing club record of 19 tries in the Warriors’ foundation season placed him third behind Manly duo Steve Menzies (22) and John Hopoate (21).
Fusitu’s also has a team-high six errors against his name.
2018 NRL try scorers: David Fusitu'a nabs another double to lead the pack… https://t.co/yTF4khZYWj
— rugbyleaguehub.com (@leaguehubcom) April 9, 2018
Big Ken Maumalo kept up his metre-eating form, racking up a game-high 173 to climb to sixth in the NRL. Mamalo is averaging 153 metres per game.
Peta Hiku (13th) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (17th) are also in the NRL’s top 20 for running metres, with Hiku first amongst centres and RTS third amongst fullbacks.
Hiku is also the competition’s fourth most prolific offloader, racking up 12 so far this season. Issac Luke, RTS (11 each) and Adam Blair (10) are in the top 10 for the category. Hiku and Johnson have both racked up a team-high 16 tackle-breaks, though Johnson has played one less game.
Less impressively, Hiku is ranked equal-third in the NRL for missed tackles with 21.
Solomone Kata joined Tuivasa-Sheck in equal-ninth in the NRL for line-breaks, chalking up his fourth of 2018 on Saturday.
— NRL (@NRL) April 7, 2018
Luke ran for a massive 115 metres against the Cowboys and is second amongst the NRL’s hooker behind Damien Cook. The revitalised veteran is averaging 92 metres a game.
Luke is also the Warriors’ top tackler, racking up 134 in five outings at almost 27 per game – including 37 against the Cowboys. He has also conceded a team-high six penalties in five games.
Seriously @issacluke_14 > Cameron Smith Y'all witnessed it tonight.
— Giovanni Mollo (@mollogio) April 7, 2018
Blair topped the Warriors tackle count on Saturday with 39 (though some sites credited him with as many as 47). Jazz Tevaga boasts the Warriors’ best average, making 31 tackles per game in three appearances.
The following selections paid out after the Warriors’ 22-12 win over the Cowboys (via NZ TAB)
-Warriors Win @ $1.87
-Warriors/Warriors @ $2.40
-Warriors 12 & Under @ $3.10
-Under 40.5 @ $1.87
-1st Try Scorer – Ken Maumalo @ $11
-Warriors by 7-12 @ $7.00
-To Score 2 or More Tries – David Fusitu’a @ $7
Um guys, the Warriors are 5-0…. pic.twitter.com/IKmmDqAY8L
— TAB Sport (@TAB_Sport) April 7, 2018