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Home, sweet home: Warriors too good for Tigers in Auckland

The Warriors celebrated their long awaited return to Mt Smart Stadium in style with a 22-2 win over Wests Tigers on Sunday.

Back on home soil for the first time in 1038 days the Warriors made sure their legion of fans went home happy with their fifth win of the season.

After controlling possession for the first 10 minutes and receiving four straight penalties the Warriors looked to have cracked the Tigers line when Wayde Egan burrowed over from dummy half but the bunker ruled he'd been held up.

The home side were denied a second time when Shaun Johnson launched a pinpoint bomb which Marcelo Montoya knocked on in the air before Ronald Volkman forced the ball in goal.

After 25 minutes of being unable to crack the Tigers defence, the Warriors settled for a Johnson penalty goal to open their account.

Captain courageous gets the Warriors going

Skipper Tohu Harris then sent the Warriors faithful into a frenzy when he powered through a Kelma Tuilagi tackle to dot down next to the posts. Johnson's conversion made it 8-0.

Tuilagi compounded that error by giving away a penalty with a late tackle on Volkman and the Warriors pounced through Chanel Harris-Tavita, who chased another Johnson bomb and touched down in the right hand corner.

A penalty against Jazz Tevaga for a late hit on Jackson Hastings handed the Tigers a chance to get on the board in the 40th minute and Adam Doueihi slotted goal to make it 14-2. ​

Arthars seals the happy homecoming

The second half developed into an arm wrestle as both sides completed their sets and defended strongly before an obstruction penalty against Alex Seyfarth in the 64th minute gave Johnson a shot from 35 metres out which he nailed for a 14-point lead.

With nine minutes to play the Tigers looked set to grab their first try but a great last-ditch tackle by Josh Curran kept Luke Garner at bay.

The Warriors put the icing on the cake with a try in the 75th minute of another perfectly placed Johnson kick which was tapped back by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for Jesse Arthars to score the 12th try of his career.

Match Snapshot

  • Warriors prop Jazz Tevaga left the field in the second minute for a HIA which he passed.
  • The Tigers had just 38 per cent of possession in the first half and were forced to make 74 more tackles than the Warriors.
  • Warriors prop Bunty Afoa played his 100th NRL match.
  • Veteran Tigers winger Ken Maumalo was the only player from either side to run for more than 100 metres in the first. The former Warrior chalked up 117 metres from 10 runs.
  • The Tigers have not won at Mt Smart Stadium since round 25, 2016.

Warriors are back home and Auckland erupts

  • Skipper Tohu Harris was inspirational for the Warriors with 131 metres from 14 runs.
  • With the Tigers forced to do a mountain of defensive work Joe Ofahengaue came up with a staggering 58 tackles.
  • The Warriors have won their past five games against Wests Tigers.
  • The last time the Warriors held an opposition tryless was round three of 2020 against the Dragons.

Ofahengaue stuns Curran

Plays of the Game

Shaun Johnson is one of the Warriors' favourite sons and he came up big on the big occasion with a kicking masterclass. The halfback was in complete control for the full 80 minutes, launching perfectly placed bombs and kicking long to keep the Tigers deep in their own territory. The 220-game veteran used all his experience and guile to notch up two try assists, 524 kicking metres from 19 kicks and 103 running metres. His final conversion of the day from the sideline took his career tally to 1200 points.

In the right place at the right time

What They Said

"Very, very happy compared to the previous couple of weeks or month or so. It's been a great week coming home, the excitement around the game and the players really feeling like they are at home. To put in a performance, a gritty performance I thought, capped off a good week." - Warriors coach Stacey Jones

Warriors: Round 16

"I thought we tried hard, for a lot of periods there they defended the try line pretty well, they scored three tries, one was off a block near the post, two were off our lack of kick defusals, so it wasn’t like we were blown away." - Tigers coach Brett Kimmorley 

Wests Tigers: Round 16

What's Next

The Warriors have a bye in round 17 before heading back across the Tasman for a clash with the Eels at CommBank Stadium in round 18. They should have Reece Walsh back on deck after he missed today's game with COVID.

The Tigers return to their spiritual home Leichhardt Oval on Saturday to host the Eels, the team they upset in round six courtesy of a Jackson Hastings field goal in the 80th minute.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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