Warriors keep slim finals hopes alive after thrashing the Raiders

Shaun Johnson

There are sums galore and numbers to crunch just to work out how the New Zealand Warriors can make the NRL finals but they have kept their hopes of making it alive, after obliterating the Canberra Raiders 50-16 in New Zealand.

There were two hat-tricks in the game, with winger Manu Vatuvei and halfback Shaun Johnson putting on a show, as the Warriors now need a win over the St George Illawarra Dragons next week, if they are to make the finals.

“To be honest I haven’t looked at what’s needed,” said Warriors captain Simon Mannering.

“I know we have to win to be a chance. That’s all I’m concentrating on.

“I guess we’ll see next week what we’re looking at, but obviously the win’s the most important thing.”

There was some razzle-dazzle in the Warriors play, as they scored a whopping 44 unanswered points after trailing 12-6 to the Raiders at one stage.

Despite the classy play, Mannering said that the key to his side’s victory was simple – playing the basics.

“I don’t think it was being too expansive, it was just sticking to what we trained through the week,” he said.

“It’s not the flash plays. It’s the basic ones that really sent it home for us.”

The only sour note for the Warriors was an injury to Jerome Ropati, who has had a horrid run of injuries of late.

It has been a tough last little period for the Raiders, with David Furner sacked, Blake Ferguson stood down and Sandor Earl found guilty of peptide use, with interim coach Andrew Dunemann admitting that it is taking a toll on his side.

“That’s not making excuses for anyone,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of players out and we’ve had to deal with a fair bit over the last three weeks.

“At the end of the day, they’re professionals and we need to get over it. It’s easy to say, but it’s hard to do.”

Trailing by just 8 points at half-time, the Raiders had a chance, but Dunemann concedes that the Warriors just had too much firepower in the second half and showed why.

“We didn’t defend as well as we would have liked in the second half but that’s probably been our issue for the whole year, to be honest,” he said.

“Our defence has been poor at times.”

3. Shaun Johnson
2. Manu Vatuvei
1. Elijah Taylor

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