David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Warriors suffer humiliating Anzac Day thrashing to Melbourne Storm

On a day that remembers the past the Warriors failed to heed lessons of recent history in suffering a demoralising and largely self-inflicted Anzac Day thrashing to Storm. Photo / Getty Images
On a day that remembers the past the Warriors failed to heed lessons of recent history in suffering a demoralising and largely self-inflicted Anzac Day thrashing to Storm. Photo / Getty Images

Storm 42 (Tohu Harris, Tim Glasby, Jesse Bromwich, Marika Koroibete, Cameron Munster, Cooper Cronk, Suliasi Vunivalu 2 tries, Cameron Smith five cons)
Warriors 0

On a day that remembers the past the Warriors failed to heed lessons of recent history in suffering a demoralising and largely self-inflicted Anzac Day thrashing to Melbourne Storm.

After an emotional pre-match schedule featuring stirring renditions of the New Zealand and Australian national anthems and The Ode and Last Post performed under a blackout before a 21,233-strong AAMI park crowd, the Warriors conceded eight tries and their third highest total in their 21-year-history without scoring a point in reply.

"We were completely dominated," said coach Andrew McFadden.

"It was a big occasion and we had everything to play for. It was a big game, we always knew that, we just didn't turn up physically."

Once again, the Warriors problems were mostly of their own design, with five first-half penalties gifting the Storm attacking opportunities that were ruthlessly converted into tries to Tohu Harris, Tim Glasby, Jesse Bromwich, Marika Koroibete and Cameron Munster for a commanding 28-0 halftime lead.

Down 10-0 after eight minutes, the Warriors were reduced to 12 men when Blake Ayshford was sin-binned for a professional foul.

But their misery was deepened, just a week after losing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to a season-ending ACL injury, when his fullback replacement Tui Lolohea suffered a medial ligament injury midway through the first half which will likely see him sidelined for a number of weeks.

A hopeless situation got worse early in the second-half, when back-rower and former captain Simon Mannering was assisted from the field requiring stitches to a deep cut inside his mouth that will require the attention of a plastic surgeon after muscle layers were severed.

The Warriors showed greater desperation upon the resumption but failed to fire a shot before Storm halfback Cooper Cronk eventually crossed in the 56th minute, while former St Kentigern's College and Blues development rugby player Suliasi Vunivalu scored twice in the final 11 minutes to underline the home side's dominance.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden and his team stand dejected following their humiliating Anzac Day defeat to Melbourne. Photo/Getty.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden and his team stand dejected following their humiliating Anzac Day defeat to Melbourne. Photo/Getty.

The result extended the Storm's Anzac Day record to four wins in seven traditional fixtures between the two clubs since 2009's inaugural drawn clash and helped them atone for the 2014 defeat to the Warriors in their last Anzac Day meeting, while backing up their clinical round three victory at Mt Smart Stadium.

After starting the season with three straight defeats culminating in that heartbreaking 21-14 loss, the Warriors continue to confound, with their inconsistent form the only constant of their see-sawing 2016 campaign.

Two wins in a row over Newcastle and the Sydney Roosters were followed by another home defeat to Manly, before last week's gritty victory over the Bulldogs in Wellington gave false hope they were on the rise.

But tonight's display was a return to the horrors of the round one first-half against Wests Tigers and the lazy uninspired effort in the round six loss to the Sea Eagles.

"There's no doubt tonight was definitely about attitude," said McFadden.

"I haven't seen that lack of intent like that for a while now but we got dealt a pretty brutal lesson tonight by a team that was red hot.

"It was right across the park (the problems). You don't have those performances unless you've got a lot of guys that haven't turned up."

With a three-five win-loss record they now drop down two places to slump into 13th spot on the premiership ladder, making next Sunday's home match against the Dragons vital to staying within range of the top eight.

- NZ Herald

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