On this evidence, the big win over the Bulldogs last week was a bit of a mirage.

The Warriors have fallen to their first defeat of the season, and it was a horrible one, as they barely fired a shot, slumping to a 34-6 loss to the Tigers on Sunday night.

It continued an awful record at Campbelltown, where the Auckland team have only won one of their last six games.

It was a forgettable evening, as anything that could go wrong, generally did. Their handling was poor, in admittedly wet conditions, their defensive line was loose and they lacked intensity in their work on both attack and defence. The Tigers were much more desperate, and man for man the Warriors were completely outplayed.


And while they could hardly create anything themselves, they fell victim to a Robbie Farah masterclass with the 35-year-old completely dominant from dummy half, with three try assists and a cheeky touchdown from dummy half.

Of most concern was the Warriors attack. Sure, they were hurt by mistakes, which killed momentum, but they were terribly predictable when they did have opportunities, especially in the first half when the match was still in the balance. The ball was just shuttled from side to side, and it made for easy pickings for Tigers defenders.

While everyone at Mt Smart wants to put the departure of Shaun Johnson behind them, performances like this will only highlight his absence, as they desperately missed his creativity, flair and pace. After the promising fare last week, the Warriors in the first half were untidy and uninspired. They lacked the focus and intensity of round one and crippled any momentum they built up with errors. Any time the Tigers made a mistake, the Warriors invariably came up with one on the next set.

There was a knock on straight after the Warriors had earned a penalty, and another fumble a couple of plays after Blake Green forced a repeat set. Both Green and Keighran gifted seven tackle sets with kicks that went way too long and on another occasion the Warriors had a chance for six more tackles, but didn't hear the referees call and chipped ahead instead.

The Warriors had their moments, with Ken Maumalo set free down the left wing by Keighran, only to be stopped by a desperate Esan Marsters tackle, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looked dangerous on the right edge.

But the Tigers always seemed more likely — with Farah, Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks making inroads up the middle — and took the lead after a sustained spell of pressure. Farah showed all his experience with an exquisite cut-out ball to send Corey Thompson over metres from the line, though Solomone Kata and David Fusitu'a were guilty of misjudging the numbers.

Worse was to come in the dying minutes of the first half, as the Warriors seemed to switch off. They were caught out by a close range Farah grubber, which squeezed through the line and was forced by Robert Jennings. There was nothing conclusive at all about the replays, but referee Ashley Klein had made the on field decision of try. The Warriors had to respond early in the second half, and they did initially. Tuivasa-Sheck's pace gave Peta Hiku an opportunity to release Maumalo, who did well to finish just inside the touchline in the 45th minute.

But that was as good as it got. They couldn't captialise, giving up a cheap penalty then a soft try, with Farah exploiting chinks in the Warriors right edge again, in what was almost a carbon copy of the first Thompson try.


From there the second half was a procession for the Tigers, as Marshall created a try for Mahe Fonua, before Farah dived over from dummy half. Michael Chee-Kam was put into space by Marshall — again on the right edge — to give the scoreline an embarrassing feel.

Tigers 34 (Corey Thompson 2, Robert Jennings, Mahe Fonua, Robbie Farah, Michael Chee-Kam tries; Esan Marsters 5 goals)
Warriors 6 (Ken Maumalo try; Adam Keighran goal)
Halftime: 12-0.