NRL: Warriors capitulate again

Pita Godinet of the Warriors in action during the round 26 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders. Photo / Getty Images.
Pita Godinet of the Warriors in action during the round 26 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders. Photo / Getty Images.

Warriors 22
Raiders 42

The Warriors have closed out a miserable 2012 NRL season with a 22-42 thrashing from the Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium today.

In the epitome of a game of two halves, the Warriors raced out to a 22-6 halftime lead, before conceding six second half tries to lose the match by 20 points.

It completes a horror chapter for the Auckland franchise, which has now lost its last eight NRL matches and heads into the off season searching for a new coach, new players and a new spirit.

The pre match talk had been all about producing a fitting send off for retiring captain Michael Luck, but he will no-doubt quickly forget the last of his inspirational 150 appearances for the club.

Stand-in coach Tony Iro tried to combat the Warriors slide in form by making a host of changes from the side that lost to St George Illawarra last week, and despite his side laying a solid platform in the first half, his experiment ultimately failed.

Iro left popular halfback Shaun Johnson out of the match day squad, and placed departing stars James Maloney and Lewis Brown on the bench - hoping to stir a reaction from a system which had gone limp.

It looked like the changes worked in the first half - the new halves pairing of Pita Godinet and Feleti Mateo worked well and laid the foundation for three first half tries to Manu Vatuvei (2) and Ben Matulino.

But the second half was a trip down memory lane as the Warriors defensive unite capitulated. The Raiders were able to sniff the same defensive fragilities and fatigue that the Sea Eagles and the Knights had in previous weeks when they both overcame 18-point deficits.

The Raiders playmakers had a field-day with Shaun Berrigan and Josh McCrone putting players into space and finding room on the edges for the likes of Reece Robinson and Blake Fergusson to capitalise.

The Raiders now eye an away clash against the Cowboys in the first week of the finals, while the Warriors finish the season in 14th place with just the Panthers and Eels below them - and have a lot of soul searching to do in the offseason.

Warriors 22: (Manu Vatuvei 2, Ben Matulino, Pita Godinet tries; Ben Henry 2 con, James Maloney con).

Raiders 42: (Shaun Berrigan, Shaun Fensom, Reece Robinson 2, Blake Ferguson 2, Josh Papalii tries; Jarrod Crocker 7 con.)

HT: 22-6

- HERALD ONLINE

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