NRL: Warriors edge past Broncos

By David Skipwith

Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors makes a break during the game between the New Zealand Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images
Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors makes a break during the game between the New Zealand Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images

Warriors 19
Broncos 10

The Warriors saw off a determined Brisbane Broncos side to claim a hard-fought 19-10 NRL win at Mt Smart Stadium tonight.

Two converted tries to Ben Henry and Konrad Hurrell and a Shaun Johnson field goal gave the home side a 13-6 halftime lead, but a try to Brisbane fullback Ben Barba inside the final quarter put the match back in the balance.

With their second-half fade against South Sydney in Perth a fortnight ago still fresh in the memory, the Warriors bounced back in the best possible fashion, with Ngani Laumape bursting through the defence to put Chad Townsend in for their third four-pointer 15 minutes from fulltime.

"That really could have changed the momentum but we managed to stifle their attack after that and we hung on and only conceded 10 points, so I guess that's a real positive," a relieved coach Andrew McFadden said afterwards.

The result gives the Warriors their fifth win in seven games and extends their record under McFadden to five and four, while they advance into ninth place on the competition ladder to sit two points adrift of the eighth-placed Wests Tigers.

McFadden was critical of his side's performance with errors and poor kicking contributing to a sluggish start.

"I certainly think we've played better footy but to get the two points in a scrappy affair was what we need at this time of year. We pretty much won that on defence so that was pretty pleasing," he said.

The visitors suffered a blow when Queensland State of Origin star Matt Gillett was forced from the field with a shoulder injury after 12 minutes, but they went on to enjoy the better of play throughout the first 40.

Brisbane hooker Jake Granvile caught the defence napping when he ran from dummy half and wrestled his way through to plant the ball down for the first try, before halfback Ben Hunt converted from wide out for a 6-0 lead after 18 minutes.

The Broncos continued to apply pressure but the Warriors defence clung on before replacement forward Feleti Mateo arrived to spark their lackluster attack.

The ball-playing back-rower put on a sweet pass for fellow substitute Ben Henry, who roared through a gap near halfway and dummied his way past Barba, to race in and score the Warriors first points 12 from halftime.

Improved kicking from Johnson and Townsend, and mistakes from the Broncos saw possession swing, and the Warriors enjoyed four more attacking sets before Hurrell barged through for their second in the 37th minute. Johnson again added the extras, before producing a booming 41-metre field goal to extend the Warriors advantage right on halftime.

The first five minutes after the break saw two Warriors placed on report, with prop Suaia Matagi earning a reprimand for a strong challenge on Josh Hoffman, while Laumape was involved in an ugly lifting tackle on Josh McGuire.

Both teams saw attacking chances go begging as the game neared the hour mark, the Broncos managing to hang on after Shaun Johnson burst through the line, while only a desperate lunge from Manu Vatuvei prevented Dale Copley from touching down.

Brisbane centre Jack Reed's offload put Barba away before he used a fend and a second burst of pace to beat his opposite Sam Tomkins to score, before Hunt converted to leave them three adrift.

Townsend's try gave the Warriors a timely boost, with Johnson again converting to give them the match-winning lead before they closed it out in front of 16,025 fans.
Warriors 19 (Henry, Hurrell, Townsend tries; 3 Johnson cons; 1 FG pens)

Broncos 10 (Granville, Barba tries; Hunt 1 cons; pens)

- NZ Herald

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