Many may not have seen it coming prior to the start of the season but a rejuvenated New Zealand Warriors side are 2/2 to start 2018.
In the end, a comfortable 20-8 win in front of their vocal home crowd saw them keep their record intact.
The Gold Coast Titans, missing Ash Taylor who was a late scratching due to injury, looked lost in attack.
It looked as if the first half was headed for a rather dour affair with the only points in the first 25 minutes a penalty goal to Michael Gordon.
The Warriors attack took some time to make an appearance but when it did, it had a renewed venom.
First, they look destined to score, only for a spectacular try-saving tackle from Michael Gordon stopping David Fusitu’a.
The points came soon after, however, as the right edge attack of Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku and Fusitu’a combined for the winger to open the try-scoring account in the match.
Another try came soon after as the Warriors spine combined with a lovely play to send Roger Tuivasa-Sheck over to score.
Despite the Titans best efforts, their attack continued to fall short. They missed the calmness and resolve of Ash Taylor and his ability to force repeat sets.
After a slow start to the second half, both sides slowly started to find their mojo again but neither could score again.
That was until Warriors centre Solomone Kata bustled his way over and got his 2018 account up and running.
The Titans would hit back with a late try after Anthony Don pounced on a clever grubber from centre Konrad Hurrell but it was too little, too late.
A continued bright spot this season for the Warriors has been Fusitu’a who has bagged a double in successive games now.
“It was a scrappy win, the Titans really came at us, but it just shows the resilience this side has,” he said.
Not one to take all the credit, he praised both Harris and Hiku for the work they do inside him.
“They draw in so many defenders, they have good footwork, so all I have to do most of the time is just put the ball down,” he said.
Although they did win, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney knows they can get even better.
“Anytime you get the win you are happy but I felt we could have been a lot more direct,” he said.
“The defence I was happy with. To only concede one try in the final minutes off a kick, that’s a pretty good effort.”
Garth Brennan was quite frank about his team’s performance; not having Ash Taylor was not an excuse, they were just not good enough.
“Ash was missed but that’s no excuse,” Brennan said.
“I thought Bryce [Cartwright] and Kane [Elgey] played well and they were just the better side today.
“I thought we scrambled pretty well but against a Warriors side who are on like they were today, it’s tough.
“When they start throwing it around like they did and it sticks, they are very hard to defend and they have some class there in Shaun Johnson and (Roger) Tuivasa-Sheck off the back of that.
Player of the Game:
3. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2. David Fusitu’a
- Jai Arrow