The Warriors went down to Melbourne 32-10 on Saturday night after a promising first half where they looked like they were up for the fight.
Unfortunately, not coming out of the sheds for the second half, metaphorically speaking, saw them concede 24 unanswered points after the break at the hands of the clinical Storm.
— NZ Warriors Stats (@NZWarriorsStats) June 8, 2019
After Storm captain Cameron Smith opened the scoring with a penalty goal, the Warriors were quick to respond with a slick move down their favoured left side. Superb lead-up play from Kodi Nikorima and Peta Hiku sent Ken Maumalo over in the corner.
- 8 – Slow starts have not been an issue this season – the Warriors scored the opening try in a game for the eighth time.
- 8 – Ken Maumalo crossed for his eighth try this season, a new career-best season tally for him.
- 5 – Maumalo has now scored at least one try in each of the Warriors’ last five matches following a loss.
The Warriors were over again shortly after with Blake Green grubbering through for Kodi Nikorima to dot down.
- 2 – It was Nikorima’s second Warriors try in just his fourth appearance since his mid-season switch from Brisbane.
The perennial coach-killer came four minutes before halftime. New Zealand-born Storm fullback Jahrome Hughes darted over via a Cameron Smith blindside switch out of dummy-half.
Halftime, and the Warriors led 10-8. The scoreboard did not reflect them being ovewhelmignly the better side in the first 40.
- 7 – This was the seventh occasion in 12 games this season that the Warriors have kept the opposition to a single-figure score in the first half.
- 3 – On three of those occasions they kept the opposition scoreless.
- 2 – This was the second time that the Warriors have led the Storm at halftime this season.
- 1 – It was also the first time they have led the Storm at halftime twice in a season since 2011.
Unfortunately, that lead was extinguished in the first minute of the second half as Hughes cruised through under the posts off a Brandon Smith pass for his double.
- 3 – Jahrome Hughes has now scored three tries in has past two appearances against the Warriors.
Ten minutes later Storm flyer Ryan Papenhuyzen – on for Brodie Croft, who failed his HIA test – drew in Maumalo to leave him in no man’s land and put Suliasi Vunivalu in for a classical winger’s finish. A perfectly-executed backline move from the Storm.
- 5 – Suliasi Vunivalu has now scored five tries from six games against the Warriors.
- 5 – All five of those tries have come at Mt Smart Stadium.
- 3 – This was also his third successive match he has scored at Mt Smart Stadium.
A succession of penalties, combined with back-to-back sets on their opposition line, failed to materialise into anything for the Warriors. And the composure of Cameron Smith effectively killed off any hope with a grubber through for Kiwi
Test prop Jesse Bromwich to score under the posts in the 63rd minute.
Seemingly broken by a professional Storm outfit with a completion rate at 92 percent and conceding only four errors to the Warriors’ 11, the hosts could not muster anything in the final quarter. Smith decided on a luxury penalty goal before Fijian centre Marion Seve dotted down to complete a miserable second half for the home side.
- 0 – For the second game in a row – and third time this season – the Warriors failed to score a point in the second half. On this occasion they conceded 24 unanswered points after the break.
- 2 – The Warriors have led at halftime on five occasions this season. This is the second time they Warriors have blown a halftime lead – both times against the Storm.
- 4 – Going into this game the only four sides that the Warriors have beaten this season were the only four parked below them on the competition ladder.
- 8 – Today’s loss was the Warriors’ eighth consecutive loss against the Storm – their third-most losses in a row against another NRL side.
— NZ Warriors Stats (@NZWarriorsStats) June 8, 2019
- 0 – Craig Bellamy keeps his hoodoo over Stephen Kearney. Zero wins from six attempts now for Kearney as Warriors coach against the Storm.
Statistically not a lot to get excited about again this week. Ken Maumalo (181 metres from 22 carries) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (149 metres from 21 carries) again led the charge in terms of go-forward. But neither was able to spark the side into gear with individual brilliance.
Leeson Ah Mau (119 metres) and Agnatius Paasi (103 metres) were the only forwards to get into triple figures. You sense that the Warriors are still short of a real enforcer – a leader of the pack. The benchmark is currently being set by the Cowboys’ Jason Taumalolo, who ran for 311 metres against the Sea Eagles this weekend.
The Warriors’ backrow trio of Adam Blair (49), Tohu Harris (49) and Isaiah Papali’i (45) were all kept busy in the engine room, all topping the 45-tackle mark. But this had a direct effect on their attacking game, combining for only 18 runs between them.
Trying to find some brightness in the gloom: Leeson Ah Mau (27 tackles), Blake Green (22) and Karl Lawton (16) all stood out in defence with 100 percent efficiency. Ah Mau’s all-round game was a big positive.
Unfortunately, too many missed tackles elsewhere and schoolboy errors are letting the side down. Kodi Nikorima is starting to become the chief offender in both departments; the five-eighth had six missed tackles and three errors against Melbourne.
Attack will be a real concern for coach Stephen Kearney, with his side only scoring 12 points (two tries) in the past two games. They have scored 12 points or less now on five occasions this season.
- 40 – The Warriors have scored just 40 points in their last four home games combined, the same amount they scored in their Round 1 victory over the Bulldogs at Mt Smart.
Next up the Warriors are away to the Titans – statistically their best opponent in terms of winning percentage.
- 68 – The Warriors have won 17 of their 25 encounters with the Titans – a winning rate of 68 percent, their highest against any other current NRL side.
Traditionally the Warriors fare quite well over the Origin period. Where other sides are often pillaged of their best players, the Warriors don’t tend to lose to many of their key men. Make of that what you will.
Things aren't so good for NZ Warriors right now.
— The Niche Cache (@thenichecache) June 9, 2019
A break away from home is hopefully what they need to try and get their season back on track. The once-reliable Mt Smart fortress is proving anything but this season.
- 2 – The Warriors have won only two of their six games at home this season (plus a loss as the ‘away’ team in Christchurch). It’s a win-loss record not seen at home since 2006, which was their third season in a row of being 2-4 after 13 rounds of the competition.
However, playing away from home has usually been a hindrance for the Warriors in the past, especially with the extra travel time and distance involved from New Zealand.
- 4 – Four of the Warriors next six games are away from home. In fact, they will only play one home match in the whole of July – in Wellington against Cronulla.
- 2007 – The last time the Warriors had a 4-8 record after 13 Rounds was in 2007. They managed to pull finger and finish a commendable 4th that season by losing just two of their remaining 12 games.
Unfortunately, there are very few signs that this side is capable of turning things around to that degree.
'We just lose it' – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck gives blunt analysis of Warriors' mental frailty after Storm losshttps://t.co/r4sSrhW90P
— 1 NEWS – Sport (@1NewsSportNZ) June 9, 2019