Mark this result down as a turning point. It is too early in the year to be definitive, but the Warriors' dramatic 14-13 win over the Roosters yesterday has given them a platform for the rest of the season.

Had they lost, which looked the most likely scenario when they trailed 13-12 with less than two minutes to play, the Auckland club would have been in a real hole.

With a bye week, then games against the Panthers, Dragons and Broncos to come, their top eight quest could have been out of sight.

But instead the Warriors found a way to win, courtesy of Shaun Johnson's 80th minute penalty goal. It was an unusual - and brave - call from the officials as they penalised Mitchell Pearce for offside, though Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted it was the correct decision.

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Johnson nailed his pressure goal, from a similar angle to his match winner at Wembley in the 2013 World Cup semi final, and the Warriors had avoided their third straight defeat.

"It is pleasing to go into the bye week with two points under our belt," said coach Stephen Kearney. "I'm happy for the lads. Over the last month they have taken some steps forward and I wanted them to see some reward."

Both Kearney and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck admitted to a massive sense of relief, after the game looked gone with five minutes to play, when Pearce nailed his third drop goal attempt to put the Sydney team ahead.

Though Johnson deserves credit for his coolness under pressure, the key to the eventual result was an incredible defensive effort. The Roosters dominated possession and territory in the final 30 minutes of the match, spending much of that time camped inside the Warriors half.

They had a number of chances, but the Warriors goal line defence was extraordinary, epitomised by Tuivasa-Sheck coming up with one of the stops of the season to deny what looked like a certain try when Boyd Cordner was bearing down on the goal line.

"It was gutsy," said Kearney. " The [Roosters] are a quality outfit and in games like that they know what to do. But we found a way to stay in there, and with a couple of minutes to go things went our way. We kept ourselves in the contest by defending our tryline."

It was truly sweet and sour from the Warriors yesterday. There were moments of real inspiration with the ball, followed by some head scratching plays and mistakes. Their attack lacked the fluency of recent weeks, often because the Roosters effectively crowded them out. The Roosters defenders spent most of the match in the Warriors back line, completely disregarding the offside rule, but they were eventually punished with the crucial late penalty call.

The Warriors looked on track with a 12-4 halftime lead, after tries to the impressive James Gavet and David Fusitu'a, but failed to put the foot on the throat. They missed some opportunities early in the second half - through careless execution - then lost their foothold in the match.

The Roosters started to physically dominate, compounded by errors from home side which meant a mountain of tackling.

It was brave effort, with the Roosters' only second half try coming from a Shaun Kenny Dowall intercept. But Pearce's 75th minute drop goal looked to be the nail in the coffin, before Johnson's late heroics.

Warriors 14 (J. Gavet, D Fusitu'a tries; S Johnson 3 goals)

Roosters 13 (J Manu, S Kenny-Dowall tries; M Gordon 2 goals, M Pearce field goal)

Halftime: 12-4