Warriors move into NRL top four

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    The Warriors moved into the NRL top four and within sight of a home final after overcoming a dogged Penrith 26-12 at Centrebet Stadium on Saturday night.

    Riding the wave of momentum which had yielded five wins from their last six starts, the Warriors leapt above North Queensland and St George Illawarra to move into the box seat for hosting rights in the first week of the finals.

    They hold their destiny in their own hands as they close the season with games against the Dragons and Cowboys, fullback Kevin Locke the star of the show with several brilliant touches.

    The Panthers were unable to give departing duo Trent Waterhouse and Petero Civoniceva a grand farewell in their last home game for the club, but they did manage to make a contest of it recovering from 16-0 down at halftime.

    Waterhouse twice went close to scoring during an opening period which Penrith dominated, the Warriors emerging from their slumber when Locke picked up a loose ball from a scrum win near his own line to send Shaun Johnson on a 90 metre run for a 4-0 lead.

    Having given away 2000 tickets to the game as part of his punishment for turning up to training under the influence of alcohol, it appeared Jennings was still feeling charitable in gifting the Warriors a second three minutes later.

    In his first crack at the fullback position, Jennings coughed up the ball as he was pummelled back into his own in-goal, Ben Matulino picking up the lose ball for the easiest of tries.

    A desperate Adrian Purtell held Locke over the line just before the break but the Warriors fullback was finished – a Brad Tighe chip kick as the siren sounded turning to disaster when Locke returned it untouched for a 16-0 lead.

    Locke continued to be a thorn in Penrith’s side when he chased down a runaway Jennings shortly after the restart, but David Simmons finally got the Panthers on the board two tackles later.

    Sensing a comeback the Warriors opted to take the two points via a penalty goal – their fears vindicated when Brad Tighe brushed off a flimsy Simon Mannering effort to run 80 metres for an 18-10 scoreline.

    The Warriors were rattled as they fumbled the ball inside their own 20 metres zone on three straight sets, and many in the 11,644-strong crowd were left miffed when the home side released the pressure valve by reducing the deficit to six points with a simple penalty attempt.

    Penrith’s window of opportunity closed as the Warriors, on the back of a James Maloney 40-20 again went out by eight when the Panthers were ruled offside on their own goaline, Manu Vatuvei sealing the win with a try four minutes from time.

    Warriors coach Ivan Cleary, who admitted it was a touch surreal coaching at the place he will call home for the next three years, said his side had it all to play for over the next fortnight.

    “It’s sort of come out of nowhere really,” Cleary said of moving into the top four.

    “I try not to worry too much about where we end up.

    “After a long season you end up where you deserve – we’ve got two really big games to come.”

    Panthers coach Steve Georgallis said it was a tough way for the likes of Civoniceva, Waterhouse, Matthew Bell and Adrian Purtell to bow out at home.

    “It’s just really disappointing for the players, they put so much effort into the game – first half there was three tries against the run of play,” Georgallis said.

    “Their contribution is what’s left behind – they’re great blokes – it’s just disappointing that we couldn’t get a win for them today.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • August 21st 2011 @ 8:00am
      yewonk said | August 21st 2011 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      if they keep it they have to play at eden park again.

    • August 21st 2011 @ 9:16am
      ClipperWithChipsOnBoth said | August 21st 2011 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      They are the team to watch if you ask me, very dangerous all over the park.

    • August 21st 2011 @ 9:20am
      oikee said | August 21st 2011 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      A must win game for the Warriors, and Penrith had alot to play for, so this win was vital. The big test comes in the next 2 games, Dragons at home, Cowboys last game at mount smart.
      Finals are shaping up to be really good, just hope the Warriors can find a suitable ground if they get a home game. Some talk of not being able to play at home because of a clash with a union game.
      Maybe take the game to skilled on the coast, Suncorp, or Sydney, anyone of these 3 would have a large kiwi base.
      Interesting times.

      • August 21st 2011 @ 9:24am
        Adrien2166 said | August 21st 2011 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        And what about Perth?

      • August 21st 2011 @ 9:26am
        allblackfan said | August 21st 2011 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Small matter of the Rugby World Cup kicking off in Auckland same night (All Blacks vs Tonga) as Warriors are due to host a finals game. RWC rules also mean other major grounds in NZ are off-limits to the Warriors.
        I heard the NRL is currently trying to come up with alternative arrangements!

        • August 23rd 2011 @ 10:04am
          kovana said | August 23rd 2011 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          Doubt it… I dont think Mt. Smart Stadium is a Rugby World Cup venue… So it wont clash with the ABs.

          And why wasnt Mt Smart considered for a RWC match anyways?

    • August 21st 2011 @ 9:30am
      Adrien2166 said | August 21st 2011 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      The kiwis have a golden generation who’s coming! Kevin Locke is outstanding, and Shaun Johnson is Stacey Jones heir. Sorry for Foran but as long as Marshall will be able to stand on at least one leg, he won’t play 6 for the kiwis, and to be honest Johnson is a better halfback than him. That could make a great halves combination with Benji for the next years.

      • August 21st 2011 @ 11:38am
        oikee said | August 21st 2011 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        Slow down their, Johnson has a long way to go before he takes over from Foran, this guy takes the line on and is as tough as nails. Young Johnson needs another 3-4 years of solid NRL grind before he will even be looked at playing regular for the Kiwis.
        I would have him in the team for experience, but Foran is a much better prospect for the Big crunch games and a world cup campaign. If anyone is out injured then Johnson gets his chance.
        The real battle is between Hoffman and Locke for fullback. Both excellent prospects and neither would look outta place in the role. Happy years ahead for Kiwi supporters.

    • August 21st 2011 @ 10:28am
      Matt said | August 21st 2011 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      The Warriors are still making a lot of mistakes around the park, but they still keep winning. Out of all the teams going into the finals the Warriors have the most room for improvement. Best prop rotation in the comp with Big Ben Matalino, Rusty Packer, Slammin Sam and Lillyman. Manu Vatuivai had a terrible game again, hopefully he finds some form by finals time, oh and James Malony must be the most penalized player in the comp, need to cut that out of his game if he ever wants to play for NSW.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • August 22nd 2011 @ 2:18pm
        Ryan said | August 22nd 2011 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

        Maloney’s certainly up there for “most penalised”, but he’s actually improved a lot from his 2010 record (so far).

        The current “penalty” table stands like this:
        Shaun Fensom (Games) 22 (Penalties) 21
        Michael Ennis 12 19
        Glenn Stewart 21 19
        Jake Friend 22 19
        Nate Myles 17 16
        Trent Waterhouse 21 16
        James Maloney 21 16

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