The Warriors kept their hopes of a home playoff alive with a devastating 42-0 win over the Gold Coast Titans in front of 13,540 fans at Mt Smart Stadium today.
A powerful forward effort saw the Warriors pack out-muscle their opposites and clever kicking from halves Shaun Johnson and Thomas Leuluai provided the impetus for five first half tries. Two more four-pointers in the early stages of the second-half and an unblemished goal kicking display from Johnson had the Warriors on track for the 49-point points differential needed to leapfrog Brisbane into eighth position, but improved Titans defence over the closing half hour killed their hopes.
Read more: As it happened - Warriors v Titans
The result improves their ladder position to ninth and a win over the Panthers next week will secure a top eight berth, while they could defy the odds to go as high as fifth or sixth to clinch a vital home final.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden praised his forwards contribution and credited a return to basics for their dramatic turn-around following last week's heavy defeat to the Roosters.
"I'm pretty pleased with them. The Titans always present a physical game and that was certainly the challenge but I thought our forwards definitely dominated," McFadden said.
"We just simplified our focus. We just needed to match or at least set the tone with our physicality. We really did that well and the forwards really laid the platform for the whole game. Shaun and Thomas played accordingly on the back of that. They really committed to their plays and their combination was great."
Ben Henry celebrates after scoring his try. Photo / Getty Images
It took less than three minutes to start the points flow when a Titans knock-on gifted the Warriors an attacking scrum before a double-round move gave Ben Henry the opening try.
With the Warriors big men paving the way to deliver front-foot ball the visitors remained on the back foot before recalled centre Dominique Peyroux scored the Warriors second.
A dummy-half dart from Nathan Friend gave them a third to keep the Warriors score ticking over at almost a point a minute, while the Titans had tasted just 19 per cent of possession and did not breach halfway until the second-quarter had lapsed.
Errors and penalties hurt the Titans further before Sam Tomkins strolled in and the momentum continued when the fullback fed Konrad Hurrell for a fifth try and a 30-0 halftime score.
Soon after the resumption, Tomkins accepted a cross-field bomb for his second, and two minutes later Johnson sliced through on the outside to make it 40-0, before nailing his seventh goal from near touch.
Dominique Peyroux dives over to scores one of the Warriors' seven tries. Photo / Getty Images
Some niggling play from Titans enforcer Greg Bird on Ngani Laumape sparked a melee and lit the fuse for a tense last quarter. The visitors defence lifted to halt the one-way traffic but the Warriors showed enough desperation of their own to keep the opposition scoreless and ensure the roller-coaster ride continues for at least another week.
Captain Simon Mannering was unconcerned the scoring dried up in the final quarter and lauded his side's defensive determination.
We just wanted to defend our line and try and keep that zero and we did that. We knew they were going to come back strong in the second-half and it was a good grind going into next week."
Warriors 42 (Ben Henry, Dominic Peyroux, Nathan Friend, Sam Tomkins 2, Konrad Hurrell, Shaun Johnson tries; Shaun Johnson seven from seven goals)