REALITY BITES FOR WARRIORS IN TIGERS THRASHING

The goodwill associated with the Warriors’ season-opening demolition of Canterbury copped a massive dent as Wests Tigers doled out a 34-6 thrashing at Campbelltown Stadium.

Appalling ball control and substandard discipline stopped the Warriors from building any momentum in wet and steamy conditions. The visitors completed just 64 percent of their sets, were caned 8-4 in the penalty count and missed 42 tackles – double the Tigers’ count.

When the Warriors did get themselves into an attacking position, they barely fired a shot. Halves Blake Green and Adam Keighran – the toast of the town after last week’s seven-try exhibition – offered little spark and kicked poorly, while a glaring over-reliance on Roger Tuivasa-Sheck highlighted the Warriors’ offensive limitations against a solid defence. The forward aggression and dominance that marked their Round 1 win was also lacking in comparison to a keyed-up Tigers pack.

The Warriors also fell victim to the wily charms of veteran hooker Robbie Farah, whose dummy-half guile conjured the Tigers’ first three tries from close range before he scored the sealer himself.

Farah comprehensively outplayed old foe Issac Luke, who came back into the starting side after a calf injury forced luckless Nathaniel Roache’s late withdrawal.

The Tigers offered up a pair of gilt-edged attacking opportunities inside the opening 20 minutes via an error and a penalty, but those chances were foiled by fumbles from Solomone Kata and Lachlan Burr.

Ken Maumalo seemed certain to score in the 22nd minute after being put on the outside by a superb Adam Keighran pass. A brilliant try-saving tackle by Kiwis teammate Esan Marsters keep the nil-all scoreline intact, however.

An uncharacteristic Tohu Harris mistake stymied another attacking foray after Blake Green forced a repeat set. Back-to-back penalties against Keighran then allowed Marsters to boot the Tigers into the lead in the 30th minute.

Brilliant vision from Farah produced the first try, throwing a long ball for Corey Thompson to stroll over untouched five minutes out from the break. Caught in no man’s land, David Fusitu’a was guilty of a very poor winger’s read.

Farah bamboozled the Warriors again in the dying seconds of the half with a deft grubber.

Robert Jennings was awarded a contentious try after scrambling with Kata for the loose ball, while Marsters goaled from out wide for a 12-0 halftime advantage.

The second stanza started shakily for the visitors thanks to an Issac Luke error and a conceded line dropout.

But the Warriors got on the board in the 45th minute, with outstanding passes from Luke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Peta Hiku setting up Maumalo, who showed great poise to slip inside a tackle and dive over in the corner.

Keighran slotted the sideline conversion but a penalty against Adam Blair saw the Tigers edge back out to an eight-point lead.

The Warriors’ comeback well and truly stalled in the 54th minute. Fusitu’a had another defensive brain explosion as Farah sent Thompson in again in virtually identical fashion.

The Warriors’ handling errors continued to flow and the Tigers effectively stitched up the result with 14 minutes to go.

Maumalo made a hash of a Benji Marshall kick, succeeding only into tipping it onto opposing winger Mahe Fonua’s chest for a 22-6 lead.

Farah snuck over from dummy-half and Luke Brooks sent Michael Chee-Kam on his way to the try-line to turn a convincing victory into a out-and-out hiding.

Other than the fact it’s only Round 2, there were few positives that could be drawn for the Warriors. Piling on the points against battlers like the Bulldogs mean nothing if they can’t show some composure and backbone when the opposition take the game to them and get in front on the scoreboard.

A Christchurch clash with the 0-2 Manly Sea Eagles provides an ideal opportunity to recalibrate and get back on track in Round 3 – but there are a few Warriors that will be approaching Team List Tuesday with a little bit of trepidation.

 

 

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