NRL: Warriors fall short against Roosters

By Michael Brown

Sonny Bill Williams of the Roosters fights back with Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Sonny Bill Williams of the Roosters fights back with Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

Warriors 14
Roosters 16

Rugby league and Eden Park just don't seem to mix well.

Neither the Kiwis nor the Warriors have ever won at the home of rugby and the Warriors came up agonisingly short 16-14 against the Roosters tonight.

They were a dramatic improvement on last week's dreadful 40-10 defeat to Parramatta but conceded two soft tries in four minutes early in the second half that left them trailing 16-0 and too much work to do.

It now means they have started their season with consecutive defeats and extended their club-record losing streak to 10 games. With the Sharks, Cowboys and Rabbitohs looming in the next three weeks, it doesn't get any easier.

Their attack was disjointed and didn't get going until they were trailing 16-0. The Warriors of last week would have given up at that stage but this one seemed to find another gear.

It started when Shaun Johnson raced 75m away for a try after Anthony Minichiello fumbled when hot on attack and continued when Pita Godinet spun and weaved out of dummy half to crash over. When Bill Tupou grasped a Johnson grubber with six minutes remaining, the good crowd of 32,740 wondered if they might be witnessing an extraordinary turnaround.

It was unfortunate the difference was goalkicking because Johnson was the catalyst for a lot of the Warriors' resurgence. He hit one against the upright from near the sideline and scuffed his final attempt when he had the chance to tie things up.

At least the Warriors followed their coach's instructions to show some fight. Some might have taken it a little too literally when Konrad Hurrell squared up to Sonny Bill Williams who, if Hurrell didn't know, is a heavyweight boxing champion. It might have been an ill-advised decision but it at least illustrated they weren't going to take a backward step.

Johnson was well supported by Jacob Lillyman, who put in a number of thundering tackles, as well as Godinet. Elijah Taylor is a terrific footballer, and will be missed after signing with Penrith for 2014, but he is not a hooker and the Warriors look more dangerous with Godinet slotting in there.

Williams had another quiet match in a workmanlike effort. He produced one strip on Hurrell that he was unfairly penalised for and then produced a terrific offload that he built a career on that put Michael Jennings close.

But he has at least experienced victory this season. The Warriors still have some way to go before achieving that.

Warriors 14 (Shaun Johnson, Pita Godinet, Bill Tupou tries; Shaun Johnson gl) Roosters 16 (Anthony Minichiello, Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall tries; James Maloney 2 gls). HT: 0-6.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 03 Sep 2014 15:48:50 Processing Time: 717ms