NYC | Slow start hurts
The Vodafone Junior Warriors were on the receiving end of a dominant first-half performance by Brisbane and were unable to recover, going down 18-36 in today's 15th-round NYC clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
The home side was forced into a host of changes before kick-off with five positions in the original line-up being amended.
The eventual squad was matched against an in-form unit in the third-placed Broncos, who arrived in Auckland having won five of their last six games.
Brisbane strung together an impressive first half performance, claiming a near 70 per cent share of possession en route to a 30-0 lead at the break.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors were able to stem the flow in the second period, though, scoring three tries and limiting the Broncos to just one more try in a much-improved performance.
Back rower Brett Greinke opened the day's scoring for Brisbane, barrelling his way over inside eight minutes.
Fullback Kodi Nikorima soon added to the tally, side-stepping the defence with some brilliant footwork after a penalty.
Thomas Opacic was the next to etch his name on the score sheet, capitalising on a timely wide ball from halfback Ashley Taylor to go over near the corner flag.
Three more tries were added before the half was out, including a particularly impressive effort from Junior Taefu, who pulled in a well-weighted kick from Duncan Paia'aua.
Offence from the home side was at a minimum in the first half, as they mustered only two sets that went deep into Brisbane’s territory. Mason Lino's attempts to kick through the defence on the fifth were too heavy on both occasions.
The Stacey Jones-coached side came back onto the park for the second half with renewed vigour and was the first to score with centre Semisi Tyrell grabbing his first NYC try with 66 minutes gone.
Brisbane playmaker Ashley Taylor hit back four minutes later with his side's seventh try of the match but the final stages belonged to the Vodafone Junior Warriors.
Tyrell ensured his side finish on a positive note by adding two more tries complete his hat-trick. His third was particularly notable as he wrestled his way into the in-goal to plant the ball with a crowd of Brisbane defenders tugging at him in the 79th minute.
After a forgettable first half, the Vodafone Junior Warriors showed signs of promise and were rewarded for their resilience. The loss, however, meant that they were unable to consolidate their place within the top eight.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors are back at home next weekend whenthey will face the Penrith Panthers, who are just one spot above them on the competition ladder.
Match details | Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Brisbane Broncos 36 (Brett Greinke, Kodi Nikorima, Thomas Opacic, Francis Molo, Junior Taefu, Jack Tuttle, Ashley Taylor tries; Ashley Taylor 3 conversions; Kodi Nikorima conversion).
Vodafone Warriors 18 (Semisi Tyrell 3 tries; Mason Lino 3 conversions).
Halftime: 30-0 Broncos.
Referees: Peter Gough and Tim Rutherford.
Vodafone Warriors: Brad Abbey; Paul Ulberg, George Edwards, Semisi Tyrell, Metia Lisati; Mafoa'aeata Hingano, Mason Lino (c); Iulio Afoa, Kurt Robinson, Kouma Samson; Ken Maumalo, Toafofoa Sipley; Matiu Love-Henry. Interchange: Ofahiki Ogden, Nathaniel Roache, James Bell, Paul Tuli.