Consistent defensive numbers and completion rates have been the cornerstone of the Vodafone Warriors’ run of five wins from their last eight matches as they keep their finals hopes on track.

It’s a passage of the season which, together with their two byes, has seen the Vodafone Warriors gather 14 points in 10 weeks to sit eighth on the ladder on 22 points with five rounds to go.

Across their last eight games they’ve conceded just 136 points, an average of only 17 points a game (one of the best performances among all teams during that period). With three golden point losses during that spell, their biggest losing margin has been four points while they’ve scored 199 points an attack (almost 25 a game).

It contrasts with the first 11 matches of the season which produced four wins and seven losses while the team scored only 220 points – an average of 20 a game – and yielded 300 (27 a game).

While Shaun Johnson’s match-winning magic provided the moment that mattered most in Saturday’s win over Penrith, there were any number of outstanding team and individual numbers.

Johnson himself not only added to his legend with his stunning 55th career try - and one of his very best at that - but he also laid on Ken Maumalo’s try, had 13 runs for 81 metres, two line break assists, a line break, five tackle breaks and 267 metres from 13 kicks (five of which forced goal-line drop outs).

With the team making more than 1800 metres, all but one of the 16 players used on the night carried the ball 10 or more times with 11 of them running for 100 metres or more.

Ben Matulino (174 metres) and Tuimoala Lolohea (170) led the way for most metres with Simon Mannering as inspiring as ever with 63 tackles – now close to 800 for the season – and 134 metres from 16 runs.

Prop Albert Vete, back from an injury lay-off, impressed in his 38 minutes with 145 metres, two tackle breaks, four off loads and 21 tackles.

The other big team numbers came in the completions and missed tackles. Again the Vodafone Warriors completed more than 30 sets – 34 from 42 (81 per cent) – and missed only 26 tackles in almost 90 minutes.

The Vodafone Junior Warriors also owed their fine win over the NYC leading Panthers to their completion rate of 27 from 33 (82 per cent) and their defence which coughed up only 27 missed tackles while their aggressive ball carrying and running forced Penrith into an astonishing 62 missed tackles.  

 

NRL | v PENRITH PANTHERS, MOUNT SMART STADIUM | WON 20-16

Penalties | Vodafone Warriors 6, Penrith 8.

Completions | Vodafone Warriors 34/42 (81%), Penrith 32/45 (71%).

Total runs | Vodafone Warriors 207, Penrith 184.

Metres gained | Vodafone Warriors 1828, Penrith 1546.

Line breaks | Vodafone Warriors 5, Penrith 4.

Tackle breaks | Vodafone Warriors 31, Penrith 26.

Kicks (kicking metres) | Vodafone Warriors 22 (523), Penrith 17 (496).

Tackles Made | Vodafone Warriors 336, Penrith 392.

Missed tackles | Vodafone Warriors 26, Penrith 31.

Offloads | Vodafone Warriors 7, Penrith 14.

Errors | Vodafone Warriors 13, Penrith 13.

Runs | Vodafone Warriors: Ben Matulino 19, Ken Maumalo 17, Albert Vete 17, Simon Mannering 16, Solomone Kata 14, Tuimoala Lolohea 13, Manu Vatuvei 13, Ryan Hoffman 13, Thomas Leuluai 13, Shaun Johnson 13, Jacob Lillyman 13, Bodene Thompson 12, David Fusitu’a 11, Issac Luke 10, Sam Lisone 10. Penrith: Josh Mansour 24, Trent Merrin 21, Leilani Latu 21, Bryce Cartwright 14, Suaia Matagi 13, Chris Grevsmuhl 12, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 11, Matt Moylan 10, Tyrone Peachey 10.

Metres gained | Vodafone Warriors: Ben Matulino 174, Tuimoala Lolohea 170, Albert Vete 145, Ken Maumalo 142, Jacob Lillyman 138, Simon Mannering 134, Solomone Kata 129, Ryan Hoffman 119, Manu Vatuvei 118, Bodene Thompson 105, David Fusitu’a 101. Penrith: Josh Mansour 266, Leilani Latu 168, Trent Merrin 164, Suaia Matagi 133, Chris Grevsmuhl 121.

Tackle breaks | Vodafone Warriors: Shaun Johnson 5, David Fusitu’a 5, Manu Vatuvei 3, Tuimoala Lolohea 3, Solomone Kata 3. Penrith: Josh Mansour 15.

Off loads | Vodafone Warriors: Albert Vete 4. Penrith: Trent Merrin 4.

Tackles made | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 63, Issac Luke 41, Bodene Thompson 39, Ben Matulino 32, Jacob Lillyman 32, Ryan Hoffman 29, Albert Vete 21. Penrith: Peter Wallace 44, Trent Merrin 39, Isaah Yeo 39, Leilani Latu 38, Chris Grevsmuhl 37, James Fisher-Harris 31, Bryce Cartwright 31, Nathan Cleary 26, Tyrone Peachey 20.

Missed tackles | Vodafone Warriors: Issac Luke 0, Sam Lisone 0, Ken Maumalo 0. Penrith: Sitaleki Akauola 0, Zak Hardaker 0, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 0.

Supports | Vodafone Warriors: Manu Vatuvei 8, Simon Mannering 7. Penrith: Chris Grevsmuhl 8, Nathan Cleary 6, Tyrone Peachey 6.

Decoys | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 12, Ben Matulino 5, Sam Lisone 5. Penrith: Trent Merrin 4.

 

NYC | v PENRITH PANTHERS, MOUNT SMART STADIUM | WON 30-28

Penalties | Vodafone Warriors 8, Penrith 6.

Completions | Vodafone Warriors 27/33 (82%), Penrith 24/31 (77%).

Total runs | Vodafone Warriors 145, Penrith 152.

Metres gained | Vodafone Warriors 1435, Penrith 1398.

Line breaks | Vodafone Warriors 8, Penrith 5.

Tackle breaks | Vodafone Warriors 62, Penrith 27.

Kicks (kicking metres) | Vodafone Warriors 15 (376), Penrith 16 (348).

Tackles Made | Vodafone Warriors 288, Penrith 323.

Missed tackles | Vodafone Warriors 27, Penrith 62.

Offloads | Vodafone Warriors 6, Penrith 12.

Errors | Vodafone Warriors 6, Penrith 8.

Runs | Kane Telea 17, Ofahiki Ogden 14, Bunty Afoa 12, Junior Pauga 11, Lewis Soosemea 11, Matt Faitotoa 11, Nathaniel Roache 10, Joseph Vuna 10.

Metres gained | Ofahiki Ogden 160, Nathaniel Roache 156, Junior Pauga 149, Lewis Soosemea 118, Bunty Afoa 111, Joseph Vuna 109. 

Tackle breaks | Junior Pauga 12, Melino Fineanganofo 11, Ofahiki Ogden 8.

Tackles made | Nathaniel Roache 41, Chris Sio 35, Ofahiki Ogden 31, Mattais Heimuli 26, Sheldon Pitama 26, Bunty Afoa 26, Chanel Harris-Tavita 23.

Missed tackles | Nathaniel Roache 0, Mattais Heimuli 0, Chanel Harris-Tavita 0, Jerome Mamea 0, Marata Niukore 0.

Supports: Kane Telea 12, Joseph Price 12, Chanel Harris-Tavita 10, Mattais Heimuli 9, Sheldon Pitama 9.

Decoys: Joseph Vuna 8, Bunty Afoa 6.