As it has been consistently for 10 weeks now, defence was again the standout feature of the Vodafone Warriors’ 24-14 win over Gold Coast on Sunday.
In allowing the Titans just 14 points, the Vodafone Warriors missed only 16 tackles in securing their 10th win of the season and their sixth in their last nine games.
Since losing 12-38 to Canberra in New Plymouth on May 21, the Vodafone Warriors have only once conceded 20 or more points in nine matches. The sequence of points against has been 18 (Brisbane), 14 (Newcastle), 10 (Sydney Roosters), 19 (Cronulla), 18 (Gold Coast), 15 (Manly), 26 (Canberra), 16 (Penrith) and 14 (Gold Coast).
They’ve won six of those nine games and haven’t lost once in regulation time with the three defeats all in golden point extra time against Cronulla, Manly and Canberra.
In total the Vodafone Warriors have allowed only 150 points in their last nine outings, an average of just 16.66 a game. Over the same period of the season only Melbourne and North Queensland have better defensive records, the Storm conceding an amazing average of only 11.11 points a game in their last nine matches and North Queensland 15.22 a game despite a modest run of four wins and five losses. The Sharks, with seven wins, a draw and now a loss in their last nine starts, have allowed an average 16.88 points a game.
Eight players boasted no missed tackles in the Vodafone Warriors’ latest win. Among those with clean sheets Simon Mannering led the way with 42 tackles while hookers Jazz Tevaga (30) and Nathaniel Roache (20) had 59 tackles between them without a miss.
Mannering complemented another typically heroic defensive display with 13 runs for 113 metres, his 55th career try, a line break, three tackle breaks and seven supports.
The Vodafone Warriors’ completions were again solid - 28 from 36 sets (78 per cent) - on a day when they made only nine errors.
Among the other standout individuals was centre Solomone Kata who won his personal duel with ex-Vodafone Warrior Konrad Hurrell. Kata’s two tries lifted his total for the year to 12 in 19 games, ahead of David Fusitu’a (11) and Shaun Johnson (10). He carried the ball 172 metres from 10 runs and made seven tackle breaks.
NRL | v GOLD COAST TITANS, CBUS SUPER STADIUM | WON 24-14
Penalties | Vodafone Warriors 3, Gold Coast 4.
Completions | Vodafone Warriors 28/36 (78%), Gold Coast 25/33 (76%).
Total runs | Vodafone Warriors 163, Gold Coast 173.
Metres gained | Vodafone Warriors 1594, Gold Coast 1428.
Line breaks | Vodafone Warriors 5, Gold Coast 3.
Tackle breaks | Vodafone Warriors 33, Gold Coast 16.
Kicks (kicking metres) | Vodafone Warriors 14 (325), Gold Coast 21 (380).
Tackles Made | Vodafone Warriors 320, Gold Coast 292.
Missed tackles | Vodafone Warriors 16, Gold Coast 33.
Offloads | Vodafone Warriors 4, Gold Coast 6.
Errors | Vodafone Warriors 9, Gold Coast 11.
Runs | Vodafone Warriors: Thomas Leuluai 17, Tuimoala Lolohea 15, Simon Mannering 13, Bodene Thompson 13, Ben Matulino 12, Ryan Hoffman 11, Ken Maumalo 11, Manu Vatuvei 11, Solomone Kata 10, Albert Vete 10. Gold Coast: Greg Bird 19, David Mead 18, Luke Douglas 16, Ryan James 14, Zeb Taia 14, Nene MacDonald 13, Jarryd Hayne 10, Anthony Don 10, Josh Hoffman 10.
Metres gained | Vodafone Warriors: Solomone Kata 172, David Fusitu’a 164, Thomas Leuluai 134, Ben Matulino 117, Simon Mannering 113, Ryan Hoffman 109, Tuimoala Lolohea 100. Gold Coast: Greg Bird 157, David Mead 142, Luke Douglas 139, Nene MacDonald 122, Ryan James 118.
Tackle breaks | Vodafone Warriors: Solomone Kata 7, Bodene Thompson 7, David Fusitu’a 3, Simon Mannering 3. Gold Coast: David Mead 3, Ryan James 3.
Off loads | Vodafone Warriors: Thomas Leuluai 2.
Tackles made | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 42, Bodene Thompson 35, Jacob Lillyman 32, Jazz Tevaga 30, Nathaniel Roache 29, Ben Matulino 27, Albert 20. Gold Coast: Ryan James 48, Nathan Peats 46, Chris McQueen 34, Luke Douglas 28, Greg Bird 24, Ash Taylor 24.
Missed tackles | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 0, Jazz Tevaga 0, Nathaniel Roache 0, Ben Matulino 0, Albert Vete 0, Sam Lisone 0, Blake Ayshford 0, Manu Vatuvei 0. Gold Coast: Chris McQueen 0, Jarryd Hayne 0, David Shillington 0, Nene MacDonald 0.
Supports | Vodafone Warriors: Manu Vatuvei 11, Solomone Kata 9, Ryan Hoffman 7. Gold Coast: Zeb Taia 9, Ryan James 6.
Decoys | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 7, Sam Lisone 7, Jacob Lillyman 4. Gold Coast: Ryan James 8, Luke Douglas 7.