TWL RD 18 WRAP: BOUNCE-BACK WARRIORS BRUTALISE BRONCOS

The Warriors indicated last week’s season-worst loss to Penrith was a minor blip rather than a precursor to a familiar late-season collapse, routing the Brisbane Broncos 26-6 in a magnificent ship-steadying performance.

On the back of a bruising engine-room effort, spine trio Shaun Johnson, Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tore the Broncos apart in perfect Sunday afternoon conditions – thrilling the huge expat contingent at Suncorp Stadium.

Simon Mannering and Agnatius Paasi were particularly immense in a superb collective forward-pack display, while wily five-eighth Blake Green again pulled the strings expertly.

The Warriors were 16-0 in front at the end of a sizzling first half and extended their record of converting halftime leads into victory to a perfect 10-from-10 in 2018.

The Warriors’ lift in intensity from the outset after the Panthers Stadium debacle was obvious, but they were under the pump early after back-to-back penalties. Gerard Beale – ironically switched from left wing to right centre for the under-fire Peta Hiku – came up with a horrible miss on Anthony Milford, but Tuivasa-Sheck saved the day for the millionth time this season with a try-saving play on Corey Oates.

The Warriors fans exploded when their side capitalised on the let-off in the eighth minute. Johnson – creating havoc by playing both sides of the field – and Tuivasa-Sheck combined to create space for Solomone Kata, who exposed makeshift centre Jadyn Su’A to score out wide.

Errors from both sides upset the continuity of the ensuing period, including a Luke break that came to nothing thanks to a loose pass from Isaiah Papali’i.

Adam Blair butchered a gift-wrapped scoring chance in the 22nd minute, winning the race to a beautiful Green grubber but failing to get to a handle on it.

A howler from Jamayne Isaako off a long Green kick soon afterwards provided the Warriors with another chance, however, and marvellous deception from Johnson put Beale over for the second try of the match.

The on-fire Johnson goaled from out wide for 10-0.

An extraordinary passage of play that – with possession changing hands three times – saw Luke almost lay on a try then Kata get denied by a Su’A cover tackle.

An incident-packed half of footy peaked when Andrew McCullough unloading three punches on Chris Satae, who farcically joined the Broncos hooker in the sin-bin for a raised forearm that sparked the fracas.

But after recovering the ball from a short kick-off a couple of minutes later, Luke capped a brilliant half by dummying, stepping and bumping his way through for a solo try four minutes out from the break.

Papali’i came within inches of reaching out for a try on the buzzer after some hot-stepping work from Johnson.

Sixteen-nil, and just about the exact inverse of the Warriors’ second-half performance at Penrith.

The energy was down after the resumption and the Warriors fortuitously avoided conceding for the first time six minutes in. Darius Boyd strolled over but Joe Ofahengaue was controversially pinged for obstructing Tuivasa-Sheck.

The Warriors landed a dagger blow in the 50th minute with one of their best tries of the season. A Simon Mannering offload started the 60-metre movement, which featured a Paasi break and two touches from Johnson before Kata powered over in the corner for his second.

Paasi received the most deserved of rewards for a barnstorming display, running off Green to charge over for a nail-in-the-coffin try. At 26-0 with 23 minutes left, the two points was effectively in the bank.

The sting went out the contest thereafter but the Warriors put in a big defensive effort, until McCullough burrowed over to prevent the New Zealanders from keeping a clean sheet in Australia for just the second time in their history and keeping the Broncos to zero for the first time ever at Suncorp.

Hiku spent the last three minutes in the sin-bin after taking out Isaako near the Warriors line but the visitors avoided any further scoreboard damage.

The Warriors hadn’t knocked off a fellow top-eight team since Round 7, but they destroyed that frustrating trend with arguably their best outing of a season that is suddenly back on the rails after 80 magical minutes in Brisbane.

Warriors 26 (Solomone Kata 2, Gerard Beale, Issac Luke, Agnatius Paasi tries; Shaun Johnson 3 goals) defeat Brisbane Broncos 6 (Andrew McCullough try; Jamayne Isaako goal) at Suncorp Stadium.

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