NZME rugby league writer Dale Budge breaks down last night's Warriors win.
The Blake Green/Shaun Johnson combination is the goods
Blake Green did everything the Warriors would have hoped when they signed him to a three-year deal over the off-season. He controlled the game without over-playing his hand and took all the pressure off Shaun Johnson, allowing the Kiwis playmaker to run the ball more and pick and choose his moments. It paid instant results with Johnson having a cracking game while Green was faultless himself. They got some help with some front foot ball so we probably need to wait and see how the combination goes when they don't get such quality possession but the early signs are very promising.
The unheralded forward pack got the go-forward they've lacked the past few seasons
We all had our concerns about the lack of a powerful ball-running prop acquisition heading into the 2018 season. It didn't matter against a very big and highly regarded forward pack in the South Sydney Rabbitohs though. The Warriors forwards did a sterling job on Saturday night. Teenage back-rower Isaiah Papali'i was superb while Ligi Sao, Sam Lisone and Leivaha Pulu all played their role strongly. James Gavet remains their best go-forward merchant and he did not disappoint in his first stint. This all allowed hooker Issac Luke to have his best game in a Warriors jersey. Luke looks particularly fit this season too – as do most of the Warriors players.
This team seems to understand their game better
Last year (and every year over the past six seasons) the Warriors have looked like they didn't really know what style of game they wanted to play or needed to produce. They've lacked leadership at times and direction but that wasn't the case against the Rabbitohs. Speaking after the match captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said the most pleasing thing about the win was the way everyone was pulling in the same direction. That's what it looked like. Everyone knew the role they were supposed to play and how that fitted in to the overall plan. It is early days and one swallow doesn't make a summer but the Warriors found the recipe to success in round one. The key will be whether they can continue to unlock that over the next 25 weeks.