Warriors nearly calm Storm again
They did it in the 2008 NRL qualifying final. They did it in last year’s preliminary final. They’ve done it in three of the four previous matches against Melbourne.
They nearly did it again at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.
No matter what shape or form the Warriors are in, they are capable of beating the Storm – or at least pushing them to the brink.
Were it not for the cheese slipping off their cracker with 11 minutes remaining, the Warriors could have pulled off another big occasion victory in Melbourne – this time the now-regular Anzac Day clash between the two clubs.
Instead it was a 32-14 defeat which both coaches believe did not accurately reflect the match.
If the Warriors have uncovered a secret to calming the Storm – who had been unbeaten in their previous seven matches – they weren’t sharing it.
“We knew it was a big occasion, on a great day to play a game of footy, and there’s a good history there between the two teams,” Warriors captain Simon Mannering said.
“It’s us coming over here for a challenge we enjoy, and we get it against Melbourne every time.”
The Warriors’ honourable Anzac Day defeat came two important men down.
Halfback Shaun Johnson, with less than a season’s total of NRL games but a rising star nonetheless, withdrew late with a shoulder injury from the recent Test match.
And fullback Kevin Locke was taken off early with a sternum injury.
That forced centre Krisnan Inu to deputise at fullback, and two crucial mistakes which led to tries could be sheeted home to him.
The Warriors sit outside the top eight with just three wins from their eight matches – a long way adrift of the Storm and their eight-match picket fence.
“It’s disappointing that we let it go because the game was a lot closer than that,” Warriors coach Brian McClennan said.
“(Losing two key players) doesn’t help does it?
“Turn it around. Would it make a difference if their 1 and 7 came out? It does affect you, but you just have to deal with it. Tonight we didn’t do it well enough.”© AAP 2013
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