“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” –Forrest Gump…or any Warriors fan.
It was another week full of emotions for Warriors supporters. How did their team did not win? How did their team not lose? Despite both sides showing a ton of courage and passion, perhaps fittingly the game ended in a rare draw after 10 extra minutes of golden point extra-time still could not provide the decisive points to clinch a result.
- 2009 – This was the Warriors’ first draw in the NRL since Round 21, 2009.
- 2016 – This was the first draw in the NRL for any team since Round 21, 2016.
The ‘Baby Broncos’, oozing confidence from their win over the Cronulla Sharks a week earlier, came out of the gates strongly. With just six minutes on the clock via the first of 18 errors on the night by the Warriors, 19-year-old prop Payne Haas charged his way through some feeble Warriors defence to score.
Sensing a Broncos rampage, the Warriors responded almost immediately via a huge Kodi Nikorima 40/20 kick to give the Warriors some great field position. Unfortunately they were unable to make the most of it with Isaiah Papali’i knocking on from the ensuing set.
But it was Nikorima again seizing the initiative, drawing in two Broncos defenders to send a flying Adam Blair – running like a centre – through a gap to score.
- 2 – Adam Blair scored his second try for the Warriors in 2019 and the third in his time at the club. This is the first season since 2012 that Blair has scored more than one try in a season.
Just six minutes later and the Warriors were again on the counterattack with some off-the-cuff play, Blake Green shimmying and changing the direction to put Issac Luke in under the posts.
- 3 – Issac Luke has scored in his past three games for the Warriors against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
An attacking menace throughout, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck drew in two defenders, before quick hands from Gerard Beale allowed the flying David Fusitu’a to score with a stunning one-handed put down in the corner. Not for the first time in his career, his body was airborne well over the sideline.
- 4 – David Fusitu’a scored his fourth try of the season. In comparison, by Round 17 last season he had scored 15 tries.
— NRL (@NRL) July 13, 2019
The Warriors went into the break up 16-6 and looking the far more dominant side.
- 7 – The Warriors had won their previous seven games against the Broncos when leading at halftime.
- 37 – Jazz Tevaga averages 32 tackles per game in 2019. He had already made 37 tackles by halftime.
Just five minutes after the break, Luke came up with a disastrous handling error from an Anthony Milford grubber kick, the ball falling sweetly for Broncos skipper Darius Boyd to dot down for the easiest of tries.
Disaster soon struck for the Warriors with metre-eating winger Ken Maumalo suffering a head knock and forced to leave the field following an HIA test. Tellingly, this hindered the Warriors go-forward, which was compounded by the temporary loss of back-rower Lachlan Burr with a groin injury.
- 258 – In just 54 minutes of playing time Maumalo ran for an incredible 258 metres – his second-highest tally of the season despite playing in 80 minutes in every other game (85 against the Panthers), falling just shy of his 284 metres against the Titans four weeks ago.
A positional switch by Broncos coach Anthony Seibold, moving Tevita Pangai Jr into the middle of the field and allowing David Fifita to roam on the right edge paid dividends with the 19-year-old Queensland Origin representative scything through five Warriors defenders with ease and pace. Kotoni Staggs converted from a handy position and put the Broncos ahead by two points with just 14 minutes left on the clock.
The Warriors willfully tried to break down the Broncos’ defence, Peta Hiku appearing to score in the 76th minute only to be controversially denied by the bunker, due to an alleged knock-on by Papali’i in the lead-up play.
But justice was served swiftly with Pangai Jr penalised for a strip and Luke coolly slotting a penalty from right in front to square it up at 18-all.
- 17 – For the second time in three weeks the Warriors headed into golden point. Their overall record in golden point before Saturday was five wins, three draws and eight losses.
Field goals aplenty and a try-saving tackle on Chanel Harris-Tavita by big Payne Haas kept the score deadlocked. And try as both sides might they could just not muster a tiebreaker in the fourth straight Warriors game to go right down to the wire.
- 6 – There were six field goal attempts combined, all six unfortunately sailing wide.
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) July 15, 2019
Despite the result, there were some outstanding individual performances throwing up some unbelievable numbers.
- 367 – Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck set a new record for the most metres run in an NRL game since this metric was first recorded in 1999, running for an incredible 367 metres.
- 4 – This was his fourth consecutive 200-plus metres running game – and his seventh from 15 games this season.
- 94 – Tuivasa-Sheck’s 367 running metres included: 94 post-contact metres, eight tackle-busts, six offloads, and one line-break.
- 200+ – Tuivasa-Sheck (367 metres), Peta Hiku (242), Ken Maumalo (258) and Kodi Nikorima (201) all ran for over 200 metres. Honourable mention must go to Adam Blair and Jazz Tevaga, who both ran over 180 metres each. Hiku, Nikorima, Blair and Tevaga all posted season-best numbers in this department.
- 200 – Ken Maumalo ran for over 200 metres for the fourth week in a row, and fifth in his past six games. In total he has run for more than 200 metres in a game in eight of his 16 games this season.
- 9 – A total of nine of the Warriors’ run on side ran for over 100 metres – season-best for the club.
- 20 – Tuivasa-Sheck, Fusitu’a, Hiku, Maumalo, Nikorima and Tevaga all made over 20 runs.
- 123 – Issac Luke had his busiest game of the season, picking up several season-high statistics, most notably: 85 minutes played, 123 receipts out of dummy-half, 98 run metres and 42 tackles.
- 72 – Jazz Tevaga put in a mammoth effort with an outstanding 72 tackles. This is the second most for a Warriors player since this metric was first recorded and the sixth most of all time in the NRL era. Former Warriors captain Micheal Luck leads the way for both the Warriors and the NRL with his extraordinary 78-tackle effort against the Storm in 2009. Tevaga’s tally ranks inside the top 10 in NRL history.
- 4 – This was the fourth week in a row Tevaga has topped 35 tackles in a game – factor in his 184 run metres, and it was an industrious night out (for the second time in his past three games he has run for 180-plus metres and made 50-plus tackles).
- 0 – For the fourth time in his past five games, Leeson Ah Mau has not missed a tackle. He has now made 140 tackles and missed just one in that time. Impressively, he has had a 100 percent tackle efficiency in eight of his 16 games this season.
- 10 – Adam Blair has made over 30 tackles in his last 10 consecutive games for the Warriors.
- 90 – The Warriors back-row of Adam Blair, Isaiah Papali’i and Jazz Tevaga all played the whole game as a trio for the first time this season (90 minutes on this occasion).
- 139 – Blake Green was way down on his kicking game average of 312 metres, only reaching 139 metres this time out – his second-lowest output of the season. Well down for a player who has kicked for over 300 metres on eight occasions this season, but a reflection of Kodi Nikorima’s increased responsibility in that area.
- 6 – There were only six penalties given in the entire game – four to the Broncos, and two to the Warriors.
Both sides will begrudgingly take the one point from the draw, while pondering what could have been. A loss would probably have spelt the end for the losing side, but a point each makes it that little bit harder for both sides with their finals hopes still looking tenuous at best.
- 28 – If the predicted 28 points proves to be the cut-off to make the finals, both sides will need to win seven of their next eight games.