Not all thrashings are created equal and the Warriors’ 42-20 loss to Melbourne on Anzac Day was easier to stomach than most.
On the road against the defending premiers, a line-up missing up to eight first-choice players – including the late withdrawal of forward leader Tohu Harris – with two teenaged rookies pitched into the backline, closing as $9 outsiders, dealt a raw sin-bin deal at a critical first-half juncture, and fighting back in a second half that finished 16-all: It wasn’t as bad as the final score might indicate.
The spectacular, Ponga-esque debut of 18-year-old fullback/five-eighth Reece Walsh actually had the majority of Warriors fans drinking from the half-full glass – a rarity after any defeat.
— NRL (@NRL) April 25, 2021
Nevertheless, it was still the club’s biggest loss and most points conceded since Round 10 last year.
The ‘Warriors rollercoaster’ carries largely negative connotations. But rollercoasters, of course, have their share of ups – and the inscrutable Warriors have a rich history of bouncing back from heavy losses with a (often surprising) victory.
WARRIORS’ BIGGEST ONE-WEEK TURNAROUNDS
76 points (2014) – lost 46-12 v Roosters, won 42-0 v Titans (as $1.13 home favourites)
72 points (2013) – lost 62-6 v Panthers, won 28-12 v Knights (as $2.27 home underdogs)
62 points (2018) – lost 50-10 v Storm, won 26-4 v Tigers (as $1.53 home favourites)
58 points (2000) – lost 54-0 v Dragons, won 18-14 v Eagles
58 points (2004) – lost 58-6 v Roosters, won 20-14 v Raiders
58 points (2016) – lost 42-0 v Storm, won 26-10 v Dragons (as $2.41 home underdogs)
54 points (2020) – lost 50-6 v Storm, won 26-16 v Broncos (as $1.55 home favourites)
Note three of the losses in the above list came after shellackings at the hands of the Storm during the first half of the season. Meanwhile, the Warriors are 8-1 in the game (win or lose) following an April trip to AAMI Park.
Since the start of 2016, the Warriors have won six of 10 games after conceding 40-plus in their previous game.
Digging a little deeper, the Warriors are 22-25 coming off a loss of 22 points or more since 2008, with a cover record of 27-20. As favourites coming off a 22-plus loss, the Warriors are 10-6 (8-8 against the start).
The Warriors are $1.61 midweek favourites ahead of a crunch game in Gosford against North Queensland on Sunday. Encouragingly, the Warriors have won seven of their last eight games against 2020 non-finalists – the only exception being their last-second heart-breaker against Manly in Round 5.
The Cowboys are chasing four straight wins for the first time since mid-2017, a season they went on to make the Grand Final.
But one of the more alluring trends is the shine the Warriors have taken to playing in the daytime since being indefinitely stationed in Australia. The nomadic club has won six of its last eight day games – including all three in 2021 – with the only losses coming in stoic road efforts at Parramatta and Canberra late last season.
Round 8 of the #NRL is just around the corner ad I've previewed all eight matches and given my recommended bets.
— The Shark (@TABShark) April 28, 2021