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Warriors finish with a wet sail to overpower Bulldogs

The Warriors have powered home with three tries in the last six minutes to demolish the Bulldogs 42-18 at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night.

With Tohu Harris and Addin Fonua-Blake turning on the power and Shaun Johnson turning back the clock, the Warriors sent the parochial Auckland crowd home happy with the seven-tries-to-three win.

The Warriors opened the scoring after seven minutes when Johnson put centre Viliami Vailea into a huge hole and the youngster celebrated his return from a broken jaw with a try.

Just four minutes later the home side were in again when Dallin Watene-Zelezniak intercepted a Matt Burton pass and raced 85 metres to post his eighth try of the season. Reece Walsh's conversion made it 12-0.

The Bulldogs were able to strike back in the 17th minute when Burton was cut down a metre short and a quick play-the-ball gave Jake Averillo the chance to power over from close range.

An error in the first set after points by the Bulldogs handed the Warriors field position and Edward Kosi made them pay when he finished off slick lead-up by Johnson and Walsh.

Vailea opens the scoring

The Bulldogs struck first after the break when Walsh spilled a ball metres from his own tryline and Kyle Flanagan picked up the scraps to post his third try of the season. Burton's conversion cut the margin to six.

Euan Aitken looked to have extended the Warriors' lead in the 49th minute when he held off three defenders and reached out to plant the ball but replays showed he had lost control.

Just two minutes later the Bulldogs drew level when Josh Addo-Carr picked off a Johnson pass and sprinted 90 metres to score but the Warriors continued to mount pressure and crossed for their fourth try through Eliesa Katoa in the 57th minute to lead 24-18.

With 12 minutes to play the Warriors looked to have extended their lead when Freddy Lussick found Josh Curran after collecting a Johnson bomb but replays showed a knock on by Watene-Zelezniak in the leap.

Fittingly it was one of the Warriors' favourite sons Johnson who put the game out of reach with a trademark solo try in the 75th minute and Stacey Jones' men were home at 30-18.

Kosi then finished off slick lead-up work by Reece Walsh to complete his double and the score had blown out to 36-18.

Fonua-Blake capped a superb game when he grabbed his first try of the season to round out a big win.

Match Snapshot

  • Bulldogs centre Braidon Burns was placed on report in the seventh minute after a late challenge on Warriors kicker Daejarn Asi.
  • Bulldogs five-eighth Matt Burton went on report in the 35th minute for a shoulder charge.
  • Addin Fonua-Blake put in an outstanding 33-minute stint to start the game for the Warriors with 104 metres from nine runs.
  • Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored 16 tries in his past 15 games.
  • Warriors winger Edward Kosi has scored seven tries in his past four games. 

Bulldogs bite back

  • Dallin Watene-Zelezniak wound back the clock with a long-range try and 208 running metres for the Warriors.
  • The Warriors racked up 37 tackle breaks to the Bulldogs' 17.
  • Tohu Harris made 223 metres for the Warriors and racked up 33 tackles for good measure.
  • Shaun Johnson was in everything for the home side with two try assists, two line break assists and a line break.
  • The Bulldogs have not won at Mt Smart Stadium since 2012. 

Johnson seals it

Play of the Game

With the Bulldogs down by six and desperately defending their line Josh Addo-Carr came up with a huge play when he anticipated Shaun Johnson's long cut-out pass and swooped on an intercept. From a standing start 'The Foxx' slipped into overdrive and raced 90 metres to post the 118th try of his 147-game career. After failing to score a try in his first five matches in Canterbury colours Addo-Carr has exploded into action with two hat-tricks and three doubles in the ensuing 15 games.

The Foxx goes flying

What They Said

"It was a big focus for us all week around attitude. A change in mindset to what we had the week before. You can fix attitude in a week, you can't fix a lot of structure, and obviously coming home, there's a good sign there that it really boosts this group. Once the team gets back in some routine [next year] and these guys are in a good mood with their family around them. Today's performance was off the back of the players bringing energy but also off playing in front of your crowd and what they bring." - Warriors coach Stacey Jones

Warriors: Round 22

"I wasn't happy with a lot of things we did defensively, we need to be a lot better there. We're not building pressure on the opposition enough to wear them down and they're building pressure on us, and it's all to do with our defence. We need to fix that up and stop them making as many metres as they are making."
- Bulldogs coach Mick Potter

Bulldogs: Round 22

What's Next

The Warriors head to Townsville to face the Cowboys in Round 23 before a daunting trip to face Penrith in Round 24 and a final round celebration in front of their own fans against the Titans on September 3. They should have Jesse Arthars and Chanel Harris-Tavita back on deck next week and enforcer Ben Murdoch-Masila the following week. 

The Bulldogs face a tough run home with clashes against the Eels (a), Sharks (a) and Sea Eagles (h). 

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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