Johnson sends scare through Warriors camp as they defeat the Titans

Konrad Hurrell

Although the New Zealand Warriors won the game, there is a big injury concern surrounding halfback Shaun Johnson after he injured his ankle late in the game, sending a big scare throughout the Warriors camp.

The 24-16 win over the Gold Coast Titans puts the Warriors in a good position at this point in the season, with several of their players producing some of their best footy to help guide the side to victory.

For the Titans, although they lost, there was one encouraging sign – hulking back-rower David Taylor.

Missing out on an Origin spot, the Titans back-rower made his presence known with a terrific hat-trick, making the most of some crafty ball-work by the Titans makeshift halves.

With performances like tonight, Taylor will push for an Origin spot and give coach Mal Meninga a reason to pick him.

Someone who has always known what he is capable of is Titans coach John Cartwright, who was impressed with the performance from Taylor.

“He’s been building for a game like that all year,” said coach John Cartwright.

“He’s threatened a lot and he has had some good passages of play.

“His first 40 minutes don’t get much better than that. If he continues to play like he did in that first 40, he’ll keep them aware that he’s there.”

Not one to jump the gun, though, Cartwright knows that there are areas in which Taylor can improve on.

“In the second half there, trying to offload – that’s when he loses the ball,” said Cartwright.

“His strength is running hard with the ball and attracting numbers to him. The rest of the side starts to read him.”

The game was filled with some scintillating play by both sides, in what was an entertaining contest overall.

The Warriors win maintains their solid record over the Titans of late, having not lost to the Gold Coast side since Nathan Friend joined the Kiwi side from the Gold Coast a few years ago.

As for the Warriors performance, coach Andrew McFadden was particularly impressed with the sterling efforts of hooker Nathan Friend.

“He could be a Steve Menzies, play until he’s 38 or 39, he’s such a professional,” McFadden said.

With a distinct advantage in the second-half in terms of possession, McFadden knows the side probably should have scored more points than they did.

“I thought we still lacked a bit of polish with our execution. We had a mountain of possession in the second half and we only came up with 10 points.

“If we had just executed a little better we could have made it a touch easier for ourselves.”

“The second half was a lot better than the first, to hold them to nil. It was a pretty gritty win in the end.”

There was a downside for both sides, with Beau Falloon suffering a back injury for the Titans and Shaun Johnson injuring his ankle.

3. Konrad Hurrell
2. David Taylor
1. David Fusitua

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