The New Zealand Warriors terrible record playing away from Mount Smart Stadium in their home country continued as they put in a woeful performance, losing to the defensively solid Canterbury Bulldogs by 12 points.
The Bulldogs were far from perfect as they picked up their first win of the season, but they did a lot of defence early in the match and ended on top of the scoreboard.
For the Auckland-based team, their attack was painful to watch for the most part. The scene was set early in the match when they spent most of the first 20 minutes on the attack, coming up with a single try and it simply didn’t improve.
Shaun Johnson’s involvement was limited, while Ata Hingano and fill-in fullback Tuimoala Lolohea struggled to do anything dangerous.
While the Bulldogs attack wasn’t flashy, it was solid. They didn’t start well at that end of the park, but reverted to simple plays during the back end of the first half and much of the second to run in four tries.
Stephen Kearney’s men did start the game well, despite Shaun Johnson looking dangerous on the right. They too often were trying to barge their way over for tries and not mixing the plays up enough.
It took 16 minutes for the ‘visitors’ to get across the line with Lolohea grubbering back through the middle of the park, hitting the goalpost and setting up a rebound try for Bodene Thompson.
While the Warriors were up 6-0, the momentum then reversed and while the Bulldogs taking some time to get their attack right, when they did it was clear they were the stronger side.
Moses Mbye was the man to score their first try, just as they started dominating with their attack. Greg Eastwood ran and in a dangerous position linked back with Mbye for the offload who ran across the line to score.
The Bulldogs were continually dangerous, but simply couldn’t find their way across the stripe until Mbye and Josh Reynolds were involved in the same play, linking with Brenko Lee who then threw a pass for Brett Morris to score in the corner.
The second half didn’t start much better for the Warriors, who looked under the pump making a few errors, but the Bulldogs failed to capitalise despite spending some time on the attack.
With the Warriors continuing to look lost in attack, it took some Shaun Johnson magic to spark them to life as he beat a few defenders, then linked with Bodene Thompson who offloaded back on the inside for Johnson who streaked away and scored to put the Warriors in front.
The Bulldogs got back into the lead just four minutes later though with the Warriors defence breaking down on a shift to the right. Josh Morris simply danced outside the defenders and set up the debutant for the try that would ultimately break New Zealand.
Des Hasler’s men dominated the forward battle to the end of the match from there on out with the Warriors making errors and unable to build an attack. They would heap on an extra try for good measure with a number of offloads before Brett Morris raced outside everyone to score in the corner.
Canterbury now get ready to play the struggling Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday, while the Warriors will travel to Kogarah for a match with the St George Illawarra Dragons to close Round 4.
In the end, the Bulldogs picking up their first win of the season over a woeful Warriors outfit.
Tries: Bulldogs (4), Warriors (2)
Goals: Bulldogs (3/4), Warriors (2/2)
Penalty goals: Bulldogs (1/1), Warriors (nil)
Possession: Bulldogs (47%), Warriors (53%)
Completions: Bulldogs (31/38), Warriors (30/39)
All runs: Bulldogs (166), Warriors (166)
All run metres: Bulldogs (1506), Warriors (1384)
Line breaks: Bulldogs (4), Warriors (1)
Offloads: Bulldogs (11), Warriors (8)
Tackles: Bulldogs (331), Warriors (300)
Missed tackles: Bulldogs (17), Warriors (23)
Penalties: Bulldogs (7), Warriors (7)
Errors: Bulldogs (9), Warriors (9)
Canterbury Bulldogs 24
New Zealand Warriors 12