Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Warriors at the Nines: Three things we learned

Warriors utility Tuimoala Lolohea looks to break clear in their semifinal against Gold Coast Titans at the NRL Auckland Nines. Photo/Getty
Warriors utility Tuimoala Lolohea looks to break clear in their semifinal against Gold Coast Titans at the NRL Auckland Nines. Photo/Getty

1. Shaun Johnson is back

The Warriors play maker got the ultimate test for his ankle across the two days. He came through six games untroubled, and showed his trademark pace, acceleration and sidestep was intact. An 80 minute NRL match in round one will be the ultimate test but the signs are promising.

2. Hamstrung by great expectations

The Warriors have a history of struggling with expectation and that trait continued across the weekend. They started poorly in each of their three pool games and had an awful first half in the final. They deserve credit for winning four games - and reaching the decider - but were unable to truly embrace the occasion.

3. Tui turns it on

Tui Lolohea has bounced back from the disappointment of the Kiwis, when he was dumped after the first test defeat and didn't play again on tour. The 22-year looked sharp across the weekend, and probably needed to see more of the ball closer to the ruck. Nathaniel Roache also showed his promise, and appeals as someone who could push for game time towards the end of the NRL season.

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