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

Three things we learned from Warriors win

Thomas Leuluai of the Warriors on the charge during the round 13 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos. Photo / Getty Images.
Thomas Leuluai of the Warriors on the charge during the round 13 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos. Photo / Getty Images.

Herald rugby league writer Michael Burgess lists three things we learned from the Warriors emphatic 36-18 home win over the Broncos.

Offloads back on the agenda

For the first time since - well maybe the start of this season - Andrew McFadden's side actually looked like a Warriors team last night in the 36-18 win over the Broncos. The Auckland club has always been known for second phase play, which makes them incredibly difficult to defend, but that simply hasn't happened this year. For various reasons they have gone into their shells and against Canberra two weeks ago they didn't manage a single offload in the first half and only three in the entire match. Last night they threw an offload in the first set of the match, and were particularly prodigious with getting the ball away in traffic in the first half, which helped to create numerous openings and and chaos in the Broncos defensive line.

Young guns fire

On Saturday night the senior men stood up - and the young guns fired. The likes of Simon Mannering, Shaun Johnson, Ryan Hoffman, Thomas Leuluai and Issac Luke all lifted their game compared with recent weeks, but what really stood out was the performance of the young brigade.

In an open match that was tailor made for his talents Tui Lolohea was simply superb, running for 172m and producing two try assists, two line breaks and two line break assists. David Fusitua showed his class on the right wing, scoring a gravity defying try that has become his trademark. And Solomone Kata continues to hit the heights; he scored a barnstorming try, made three line breaks and regularly bent the Broncos defensive line. Others like Albert Vete and Sam Lisone produced arguably their best performances of 2016 on a night for the greenhorns.

Greater examinations to come - but this is a start

The most important thing for the team, the media and the fans after the Broncos result is not to get carried away. This was a very good win, on a night when everything the Warriors tried came off against a Broncos team that were noticeably flat. It puts the team back on an even keel - after listing around for a few weeks - but there is a long, long way to go. The Warriors haven't won two successive games in almost a year and if they fail to back up on Saturday in Newcastle the cycle of doubt over this team may start again. It will probably be a different kind of match in Newcastle, a lot tighter, but the Warriors have to find a way to win.

- NZ Herald

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