League: Dominating Warriors win without polish

By Peter Jessup

Warriors 8
Storm 6

Their gutsy win over the Storm in a storm extended their winning run to four matches, but the Warriors know they have plenty more to do to fully resurrect their season.

Having lacked the polish to kill off the Storm after dominating for long periods, the Warriors needed to survive a last-gasp Israel Folau air raid to pocket two more precious NRL points.

They remain outside the eight but are edging ever closer, with their next assignment a trip to Sydney to face the Rabbitohs.

"We are not getting carried away," captain Steve Price said.

While delighted with the way his side out-muscled the defending premiers, Price will know as well as anybody how close they came to throwing away a game they should have won in a canter.

"We haven't earned the right to be comfortable," he said.

"We haven't had the best season. It is only in the last few weeks we have been able to build on some good performances. It certainly doesn't mean too much if we don't continue it on."

Leaders Manly were also upset, thrashed 34-12 by the Roosters, while Souths capitulated in the second half to lose 39-12 at Newcastle.

On Saturday, Penrith consolidated their place in the eight with a 24-10 win over Wests Tigers, while Canberra belted the free-falling Titans 46-4.

The Dragons take on the Sonny Bill Williams-less Bulldogs in the final match of the round tonight.

The Warriors leapfrogged the Titans, moving up a spot to 11th.

But if they are to keep pressing for a finals berth they'll need to hone their attacking kicking game. Time and again yesterday promising raids ended with kicks that failed to find the mark.

Centre Sonny Fai scored the Warriors' lone try, running over Brett Anderson in the 10th minute. When Sika Manu barrelled over to level the scores mid-way through the second spell it looked as if the Warriors would be made to pay for their wastefulness.

But Lance Hohaia landed a sweetly struck 40m penalty to nudge the home side back in front for good with nine minutes remaining after Storm second rower Michael Crocker failed to play the ball correctly.

There was a minor drama at the death when Folau was ushered out of the way as Aiden Kirk defused a threatening bomb but there was no repeat of the acrimony that marked the Storm's win over the Dragons last week. Both sides agreed the Warriors deserved their win.

"If we had scored at the end it would have been an injustice," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said. "We didn't deserve to win. They were a much better side than us. We got what we deserved. They out-enthused us, out-worked us, out-everythinged us."

Storm captain Cameron Smith concurred, although he felt his side was hard done by not to at least receive a penalty for Folau being taken out.

"I didn't think Israel had a play at the ball at all," he said.

"That's why I went and questioned the referee at the end."

The ongoing issues with their kicking game aside, the Warriors had plenty of reasons to be cheerful. From the outset they tore into the Storm forwards, jarring the ball free with a succession of thumping hits. They also controlled possession well, only faltering in sight of the Storm line.

Price called it "probably one of our best performances [this season]".

- NZ Herald

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