Warriors consolidate top 8 spot with comfortable win over Canberra

Ben Matulino

Once again, the brilliance of Shaun Johnson in the match was a telling factor as the New Zealand Warriors ended up as comfortable winners at Mt Smart Stadium, defeating the Canberra Raiders 30-8.

It was the right edge for the Warriors side that produced levels of potency that the Raiders could not match with their defence, as they eventually ran away with the game.

The Warriors were rampant as they dominated possession and completed a remarkable 80% of their sets, with their victory the second straight by a margin of 22 points.

The Raiders did have the lead at one stage around halfway through the first half but the right side attack of the Warriors was awoken as the game wore on.

Their play was too good for the Raiders to keep up with after that and the Warriors now have the bye to recover, without the threat of any long-term injuries.

Warriors star Shaun Johnson very nearly missed the clash with a back injury but he recovered and helped his side to an easy win.

“I was pretty sore yesterday and wasn’t able to do the captain’s run. I looked after it and the physios did a good job,” Johnson said.

“It did [bother me during the match], but I guess when you are in the middle of it all you don’t really think about it, it’s just when you stop – when the ball goes dead or scrums – it goes back to it.”

The defensive effort was the key for the Warriors and it was that area that pleased coach Andrew McFadden the most.

“Obviously very good, we kept the best attacking team in the competition to eight points,” McFadden said.

“I think both last week and this week have been similar themes. We build pressure through our kick game and defensive effort, and then out points come off the back of that.”

Forced to make a significantly large number of tackles, that added defensive responsibility took its toll on the Raiders and coach Ricky Stuart knows it.

“Yeah it’s hard, it’s been the last two weeks,” he said.

“That weight of possession it’s always going to be very hard, especially against a quality team like the Warriors.

“We probably made enough tackles over the last two games for four games when you look at the stats.

“The amount of possession we had to defend in the first 40 probably hurt us in the overall game.”

3. Ben Matulino
2. Shaun Johnson
1. Manu Vatuvei

Warriors 30 (Lolohea 2, Thompson, Johnson, Vatuvei tries; Johnson 5 goals) def. Raiders 8 (Wighton tries; Croker 2 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 13,110. Half-time: 14-8.

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