NRL: Warriors thumped for second week running

By Kris Shannon

Jarrod Croker of the Raiders scores a try during the round six NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Jarrod Croker of the Raiders scores a try during the round six NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

Canberra 32
Warriors 12

Canberra Stadium continued to be a graveyard for the Warriors, as they couldn't overcome another insipid first half display and fell 32-12 to the Raiders today.

The Warriors have tasted victory at the venue only once in their NRL history, in 1997, and they never looked like breaking that hoodoo during Canberra's seven tries to two romp today.

Once the Raiders ran in four tries in 20 first half minutes, there looked like being only one winner. And, despite the Warriors pulling within 10 late in the second spell, that proved to be the case as the New Zealanders' 2012 record dropped to two wins and four losses.

But for anyone ready to count out last year's beaten finalists, the Warriors were sitting in exactly the same position after six matches in 2011.

That fact will provide little consolation today, though, as a jaded-looking side were given the run-around by a clinical Canberra team whose final margin of victory was a fair reflection of their dominance.

Considering the Warriors had gifted their opponents headstarts in four of their first five games this season, it was somewhat surprising to see their line unbreached in the opening 15 minutes. But that quickly changed, as former Warrior Shaun Berrigan had the last pass in three rapid-fire Raiders tries.

First, Reece Robinson grounded a clever kick from Blake Ferguson after Berrigan had released the winger, before Jarrod Croker spotted a gap inside of Bill Tupuo to dot down on the left wing.

And after Manu Vatuvei left his wing only for Berrigan to jink past him, Ferguson was left alone to score in the right corner.

The Warriors were looking strangely fatigued when out of possession, with the numbers of players walking often matched by those with hands on hips, and the malaise saw them fall off tackles and commit five errors in the half.

The last of those five saw the Warriors cough up possession on their own goal line, and from the resulting set Jack Wighton ran onto a cut-out pass to score his side's fourth.

The only consolation for the Warriors was Croker missing all four conversions to leave the score at 16-0, a deficit which was reduced right on the stroke of halftime.

Canberra captain Terry Campese dropped the kickoff to cede possession and the visitors seized their opportunity on the last play of the half, when a long pass from Shaun Johnson was shovelled on by Simon Mannering to Ben Henry who scored in the right corner.

James Maloney showed Croker how to convert from the sideline to reduce the Raiders' lead to an improbably small 10 points at the break.

But Canberra's advantage justly grew 15 minutes in the second half, when Junior Kiwi Josh Papalii was put through a hole by Josh McCrone to make the score 22-6.

Maloney gave the Warriors some hope with 14 minutes to play after finishing off some inspired work from Johnson to set up a frantic finish. But that hope was extinguished when Robinson ran through some non-existent defence to seal the game, before Croker ran in his double to add gloss.

Canberra 32 (Robinson 2, Croker 2, Ferguson, Wighton, Papalii tries; Croker 2 cons)
Warriors 12 (Henry, Maloney tries; Maloney 2 cons)
HT: 16-6

- APNZ

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