The Warriors and their fanbase headed into bye week chewing on the bitter aftertaste of a one-point heart-breaker – a familiar tale for the club in its 27 seasons.
The Warriors have kicked 48 field goals in 643 first-grade matches – an average of one every 13.4 games – and had 63 scored against them. The club boasts a handful of famous one-pointers in its favour…but the list of agonising field goals its been on the wrong end of from opposition sharpshooters is considerably longer.
Brisbane fullback Julian O’Neill landed the first field goal against the Warriors in their premiership debut, a largely pointless 71st-minute effort from close range in a 25-22 win.
In Round 10 of their debut 1995 campaign, Stacey Jones – in his maiden first-grade start – kicked the Warriors’ first field goal to break an 18-all deadlock against Cronulla with three minutes remaining. A try sealed the result on fulltime, but Jones’ cool strike was the pivotal moment of a famous win – and a portent of what the halfback wizard would produce over the next 14 years.
Marc Ellis became just the second Warrior to boot a field goal early in 1997, a 67th-minute strike to give Auckland a 25-24 lead over heavyweight Canberra. Again, a last-minute try to make it 31-24 dulled the significance of Ellis’ stalemate-breaker. Gene Ngamu and Jones slotted field goals to give the Warriors seven-point buffers in 1998 clashes with Penrith and Balmain respectively, which ultimately proved the difference in one-point wins.
The Warriors endured a field goal drought of more than two years until Jones’ boot delivered one of the club’s most significant victories. The linchpin edged the Warriors to a 13-12 win over Brisbane in early-2001 – their inaugural success against the perennial heavyweights.
Jones kicked a club record four field goals in 2003, two of them match-winners. A brilliant 35-metre effort clinched a 31-30 golden point victory against Souths. The Warriors’ epic 17-16 semi-final defeat of the Raiders came courtesy of Jones’ 20-metre snap in the 77th minute.
Jones nudged the struggling Warriors in front of the Raiders with a 78th-minute field goal in a late-2004 clash, but Clinton Schifcoske’s two field goals in the space of three minutes – the latter in golden point – secured a nail-biting win 30-29 for the Green Machine.
Radar-boot Michael Witt’s sole field goal for the Warriors sent their 2007 classic against the Roosters into extra-time. The strike with 20 seconds on the clock was the last scoring play in a breath-taking 31-all draw, cancelling out a stunning Braith Anasta strike with two minutes of regulation time left.
Prodigal son Jones kicked a golden point field goal to sink the Roosters 17-16 in 2009. But that would be the Warriors’ last deadlock-breaking field goal to win a game for nine years. The first of Shaun Johnson’s career gave the Warriors a 25-18 lead over Gold Coast in 2013 before they hung on to win 25-24, but otherwise one-pointers provided more pain than gain for the club.
Brisbane’s Peter Wallace (2011) and Canterbury’s Trent Hodkinson (2014) landed late field goal daggers in 21-20 wins over the Warriors. Sydney Roosters’ James Maloney (who kicked seven field goals in three seasons for the Warriors) and Johnson traded late field goals for a 21-all scoreline in a 2015 clash in Auckland, before the visitors grabbed victory with a last-minute try.
Maloney, after moving to Cronulla, and Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans struck in the space of three weeks in 2016 to consign the Warriors to golden point losses.
Cherry-Evans’ twin field goals in the 78th and 85th minutes – the latter off his left boot – negated a Johnson one-pointer in a 22-21 result in late-2017.
But Johnson’s clutch performance in Canberra in 2018 was worth the wait. With the Warriors trailing 19-18, the No.7 slotted two 30-metre field goals inside the final two minutes to snatch a stunning 20-19 win and the club’s first-ever 3-0 start to a season. Johnson, one of the sweetest drop-kickers around, landed another two that year to equal Jones’ 2003 mark.
The 2018 campaign was not without field goal heartache, however; Bulldogs rookie Lachlan Lewis’ booming 35-metre effort in the 79th minute thwarted the Warriors 27-26. Maloney also banged one over in Penrith’s 27-12 qualifying final elimination of the Warriors.
Maloney again proved his former club’s field goal nemesis in 2019. One of the best clutch players of the NRL era, the five-eighth’s strike gave the Panthers a 19-18 golden point victory at Mt Smart.
Blake Green kicked a rare match-winner for the Warriors – and the first of his long career – to sink Johnson’s Sharks in Wellington later in 2019.
— NRL (@NRL) July 19, 2019
But the Warriors have reverted to the role of field goal fall guys in 2021.
Cherry-Evans – arguably one of the finest field goal kickers of all time – drilled one with five seconds left to snatch a 13-12 win for Manly in a dour contest at Gosford in Round 5.
Valentine Holmes hammered an unforgettable winner through from 40 metres out with 45 seconds on the clock in North Queensland’s 29-28 victory in Round 12 – just a minute after Chanel Harris-Tavita shanked a gift-wrapped opportunity from right in front.
Aaron Whittaker, Ivan Cleary, PJ Marsh, Lance Hohaia, Isaac John and Chad Townsend all kicked a solitary field goal during their Warriors stints, while current five-eighth Kodi Nikorima slotted the first and only of his career in a 37-26 win over the Cowboys in 2020.
MOST CAREER FIELD GOALS FOR WARRIORS
Stacey Jones – 14 (1995-2009)
Shaun Johnson – 13 (2011-18)*
James Maloney – 7 (2010-12)
Gene Ngamu – 3 (1995-99)
MOST FIELD GOALS IN A SEASON FOR WARRIORS
Stacey Jones – 4 (2003)
Shaun Johnson – 4 (2018)
Gene Ngamu – 3 (1998)
James Maloney – 3 (2012)
Shaun Johnson – 3 (2013)
MOST FIELD GOALS IN A MATCH FOR WARRIORS
Shaun Johnson – 2 (2018 v Canberra)
MOST CAREER FIELD GOALS AGAINST WARRIORS
Daly Cherry-Evans – 5 (2011-21)
James Maloney – 4 (2013-19)