Shaun Johnson’s gilt-edged one pointer against the North Queensland Cowboys last Friday night was not just a long time coming but it was also an absolute rarity for the Vodafone Warriors.
For one, it ended a six-year drought since the club had last prevailed in a golden point contest dating back to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s breath-taking try against the Sydney Roosters in Gosford in April, 2016.
More than that, it was the first time in 13 years – and only the third time in the club’s history – that a Vodafone Warriors player had nailed a golden point-winning field goal.
The last occasion was all the way back in 2009 when the great Stacey Jones, in his comeback season, spliced the uprights to give the Vodafone Warriors a 17-16 win over the Roosters at Mount Smart Stadium.
The only other success also belonged to Jones when the Vodafone Warriors played in a golden point contest for the first time in 2003.
In a match which was just the third extra-time encounter after the concept was introduced that season, the Vodafone Warriors made a staggering late comeback from a 6-24 deficit before finishing level 30-30 in regulation time. Jones was then the hero, thumping a stunning long-range field goal on the run for a 31-30 win.
In between the 2009 win over the Roosters and last Friday night's heart-stopping success, the Vodafone Warriors had three golden point wins all via extra time tries – Bodene Thompson against Parramatta in 2015 followed by Tuivasa-Sheck the following year and Johnson the same season against Penrith.
Two seasons – 2009 and 2016 – have been extraordinary for the Vodafone Warriors in the annals of golden point matches.
After beating the Roosters in 2009 the Vodafone Warriors played out a 14-14 draw days later in the annual Anzac Day encounter against the Storm and then finished all tied up at 32-32 with Penrith in August on a night when Joel Moon scored four tries.
But it was 2016 which stood out like no other.
After beating the Roosters in April, the Vodafone Warriors had a run of four golden point games in a matter of weeks in June-July. They lost 18-19 to Cronulla Sutherland in Sydney on June 25, 14-15 to Manly Warringah in Perth on July 16 and 22-26 to Canberra on July 24 before finding themselves doing golden point all over again on July 30, Johnson at last delivering unbridled joy against Penrith at Mount Smart Stadium.
In 19 golden point matches the Vodafone Warriors now have six wins, four draws (the most along with Brisbane and South Sydney) and nine losses. Only North Queensland, Cronulla Sutherland and Wests Tigers have played more golden point matches (20).
Friday night's match was the 139th in golden point history.
VODAFONE WARRIORS IN GOLDEN POINT
|3||Jun 29, 2003||Sydney||Rabbitohs||31-30||Stacey Jones field goal|
|9||Jun 20, 2004||Auckland||Cowboys||26-28||Josh Hannay penalty|
|11||Jul 25, 2004||Canberra||Raiders||29-30||Clinton Schifcofske field goal|
|20||Jul 9, 2006||Sydney||Bulldogs||18-22||Mark O'Meley try|
|28||Aug 5, 2007||Sydney||Roosters||31-31||None|
|41||Apr 19, 2009||Auckland||Roosters||17-16||Stacey Jones field goal|
|42||Apr 25, 2009||Melbourne||Storm||14-14||None|
|44||Aug 1, 2009||Penrith||Panthers||32-32||None|
|84||May 16, 2015||Sydney||Eels||17-13||Bodene Thompson try|
|93||Apr 3, 2016||Gosford||Roosters||32-28||Roger Tuivasa-Sheck try|
|98||Jun 25, 2016||Sydney||Sharks||18-19||James Maloney field goal|
|100||Jul 16, 2016||Perth||Sea Eagles||14-15||Daly Cherry-Evans field goal|
|101||Jul 24, 2016||Canberra||Raiders||22-26||Jarrod Croker try|
|102||Jul 30, 2016||Auckland||Panthers||20-16||Shaun Johnson try|
|115||Aug 27, 2017||Auckland||Sea Eagles||21-22||Daly Cherry-Evans field goal|
|125||Jun 30, 2019||Auckland||Panthers||18-19||James Maloney field goal|
|126||Jul 13, 2019||Brisbane||Broncos||18-18||None|
|136||Jul 2, 2021||Gosford||Dragons||18-19||Corey Norman field goal|
|139||Apr 8, 2022||Redcliffe||Cowboys||25-24||Shaun Johnson field goal|