Halfback Shaun Johnson admitted the Warriors were below their best but believes their scrappy 20-16 NRL win over Canberra will serve them well in the upcoming playoffs.

The Warriors were fortunate to have a couple of decisions go their way but showed grit to clinch a narrow three-tries-to-two victory over the Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium in retiring back-rower Simon Mannering's 300th game.

Johnson felt the Warriors lacked precision on attack but believes there were positives to take away from the hard-fought win while relieved they were able to nail the result for Mannering in his milestone match.

"We scrapped a bit and weren't as crisp and didn't execute what we had spoken about all week as well as what we had wanted to," said Johnson.


"But sometimes you've just got try and find a way and the Raiders are playing some really good footy. They're a tough side and a big side and they're going to make you earn it.

"You've got to take some lessons out of everything you do and we'll definitely be able to do that with this game. But by no means are we kidding ourselves saying that it was a complete performance. It was scrappy and we ended up holding on which is something we may need to do in this run.

"There's definitely things that we can learn from but ultimately I'm just glad we got over the line on what was such a special night."

Shaun Johnson chips the ball ahead. Photo / Photosport
Shaun Johnson chips the ball ahead. Photo / Photosport

The 27-year-old admitted a big week full of hype and fanfare around Mannering's big night and the unfamiliar excitement of playing in front of a capacity crowd had the potential to derail the Warriors.

"It was a really big week. It was an enjoyable week. Obviously there were a lot of distractions with a lot going on," he said.

"I haven't experienced playing in front of a sold out Mt Smart too many times. There were so many things that could contribute to [us] maybe being a little bit off but ultimately the most important thing was we were able to regather ourselves and find a way to win.

"We did that through defending our goal line and we did that through getting our kick-chase going and just allowing us a bit of time in key areas of the game which ended up in getting us the result in the end."

Johnson conceded the Warriors enjoyed the rub of the green as Canberra threatened to ruin the occasion with some relentless attacking play in the second-half but was thrilled their defence held firm.

Coming through such a tough inspection would benefit them in the big games ahead although they will need to take their play to another level in week one of the playoffs.


Penrith's upset win over Melbourne last night pushed the Warriors down to sixth on the premiership ladder and put a big dent in their hopes of hosting a home final in Auckland.

The Warriors now need the Knights to upset the Dragons this afternoon in Newcastle and the Sea Eagles to do likewise over the Broncos in Brisbane tomorrow for them to remain in sixth position.

"We got some good calls go our way at the same time. We made it hard on ourselves.

"But it's been a place of comfort for us defending our goal line. We get buzzed up, we feel confident when we're in that spot, and it's sort of been the backbone of our whole season. So we're definitely going to need to draw on that heading into the run home now."