NRL: Ruthless Warriors run riot

By David Skipwith

The Warriors celebrate a try during their big win over the Eels. Photo / Getty
The Warriors celebrate a try during their big win over the Eels. Photo / Getty

Warriors 48
Eels 0

A ruthless and clinical Warriors performance saw them blow the Parramatta Eels off Mt Smart Stadium tonight.

The home side was full of confidence and racked up eight tries in damp conditions, while halfback Shaun Johnson directed play well and booted eight conversions in a dominant display.

The result gives the Warriors their third straight victory and their seventh in nine games, to move them up one spot on the NRL ladder into sixth position, and reaffirms their status as genuine title threats.

Their record under coach Andrew McFadden now reads 7-4 since he took the reins back in round six, with tonight's effort ranking as their best performance of the year so far.

"That's probably the best we've played in terms of sticking to our plan and we obviously scored some points off the back of that. It doesn't always come that easy but we took our opportunities and that was very pleasing," McFadden said afterwards.

"I was really pleased with the way that we held them out. We had zero scoreline against and that's probably the big one. The 48 points is one thing but not conceding any points is the big one for us."

The Warriors were perfect in their execution with the football and bone-jarring and energetic in defence for the full 80 minutes, displaying the grit and concentration that are trademarks of any serious premiership contenders. With four more home games to come over the last eight rounds they are firming as the team to watch in the run in to the finals.

The Eels by comparison, were inept in attack and sluggish in defence as they slumped to their third consecutive loss, which sees them fall down the ladder into 11th position.

An electric first half from the home side saw them dominate possession and territory and six converted tries put them in total control with a 36-0 halftime lead. A Ben Henry four-pointer midway through the second term kept the foot on the throat before Chad Townsend sealed the deal with 18 remaining.

The Warriors got the party started in just the third minute when David Fusitu'a crossed out wide on the right after the Eels had failed to tidy up a Townsend bomb on the previous play.

A penalty against Joseph Paulo for a lifting tackle on Sam Tomkins quickly allowed the Warriors back within attacking range, before Johnson grubbered through the line and won the race to ground the ball ingoal for their second score.

The Warriors forwards were asserting themselves well and helping to control 80% of possession, while 18 missed tackles and four penalties saw the visitor's struggling to get into the match.

They soon paid the price as the Warriors capitalised on a midfield scrum inside the Eels 20 metre zone, with Tomkins drifting on to the ball and beating two defenders, before struggling between two more to plant the ball down.

The blue and gold's narrowly survived another raid but things continued to fall apart as the Warriors raced in three more tries before the break.

From deep inside his own half, Johnson broke through and beat the cover with a change of pace before firing out a pinpoint pass for Konrad Hurrell to run in, while Tomkins scored his second off the back of an inspired push-over scrum.

The Eels' misery deepened when Tomkins bolted through the middle of the ruck and passed off for his captain Simon Mannering, who cantered 18 metres to the line, and the Warriors were looking sprightly as they made their way into the sheds.

The Eels tried to muster some enthusiasm after the resumption but errors continued to let them down and the Warriors settled into the grind before capping the night with tries to Townsend and Henry.

Parramatta threatened to break their duck late in the game but the Warriors defended stoutly and were hell-bent on keeping them scoreless.

McFadden was doing his best to contain any excitement over his side's building form and was already looking ahead to next Saturday's difficult away appointment with the Brisbane Broncos.

"We've just got to keep working hard. Point's don't always come that easy and it definitely won't next week against Brisbane so we certainly can't get too far ahead of ourselves."

Warriors 48 (Fusitu'a, Johnson, Tomkins 2, Hurrell, Mannering, Henry, Townsend tries; Johnson 8 cons)

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 28 Dec 2014 07:40:08 Processing Time: 489ms