Warriors 40
Bulldogs 6

So far, so good for the Warriors.

On a day when an NRL match seemed almost trivial – after the horrific events in Christchurch on Friday – the Warriors at least gave the nation something to celebrate, from a sporting point of view.

Their 40-6 win over the Bulldogs was as clinical as the scoreline suggests, with the game effectively over as a contest at halftime.


It was the biggest opening day victory in the club's history, eclipsing a 16-point win over the Eels in 2007.

The Warriors were good, very good.

They ran hard and straight, with purpose, and gradually wore down the opposition. The forwards, as promised, look a bigger and stronger unit than last season, with Bunty Afoa and Leeson Ah Mau particular standouts, while Sam Lisone is a changed man from last season.

Ken Maumalo had a storming game, creating some richter-scale level collisions, while Blake Green marshalled the troops effectively and had a hand in almost every try. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck made an impeccable start to his season, and showed he will be a threat on the right flank.

The surprise packet was rookie half Adam Keighran; in his first NRL game, and stepping into the not inconsiderable shoes of Shaun Johnson, the 21-year-old enjoyed a memorable debut.

He kicked brilliantly, defended solidly, made a couple of breaks, came up with a try assist and scored a neat solo touchdown.

Of course all the praise for the Warriors must be tempered by the level of the opposition, who were pretty awful. The Bulldogs were a rabble after the first 15 minutes, especially on defence, as they lacked both commitment and organisation.

The Warriors observe a moments silence for the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings. Photo / Getty
The Warriors observe a moments silence for the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings. Photo / Getty

But any such margin in an NRL match is well earned, and the Warriors brutalised their opposition.


They opened the scoring with what might become a familiar sight this season. After Agnatius Paasi had gone close, a precise cross field kick from Green saw Maumalo just ground the ball in the corner.

It was a similar recipe for the next try, with Fusitu'a leaping to provide an assist for new centre partner Solomone Kata in the 21st minute.

The Bulldogs seemed to deteriorate across the half, and they caved again for Keighran to extend the Warriors advantage eight minutes later. It was well taken by the debutant, which evaded one tackler then dummied past another, but the defence was hardly first grade standard.

Still, it was a wonderful moment for the 21-year-old, whose smile mixed jubilation and disbelief, as he threw the ball high in the air to celebrate.

The fourth try was the best of the half. A quick blindside raid stretched the Bulldogs, with Kata showing strength and skill to release Fusitu'a. The winger then demonstrated great awareness, slowing down to take the tackle and find Nathaniel Roache, who finished under the posts.

With the job already done, the Warriors kept up their standards in the second half, which will please coach Stephen Kearney.

Keighran found open pasture but couldn't see Tuivasa-Sheck bursting through on his inside, but on the next set the fullback swerved and stepped his way over, after a switch of play from Green.

A Tevaga error led to the Bulldogs finding a try in the 54th minute, sweeping the length of the field before Christian Crichton finished in the left hand corner.

But that was as good as it got for the Sydney club, with Kata set up for his second after smart work from Tuivasa-Sheck, before Peta Hiku got a deserved touchdown.

Warriors 40 (K Maumalo, S Kata 2, A Keighran, N Roache, R Tuivasa-Sheck, P Hiku tries; A Keighran 6 goals)
Bulldogs 6 (C Crichton try; K Holland goal)
Halftime: 22-0