Warriors make decisive statement against Sharks in Auckland

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The Warriors have motored into the top four with five wins from their past six as Shaun Johnson’s Dally M Medal charge continues picking up steam alongside Andrew Webster’s Coach of the Year candidacy.

The first points of the afternoon came through Sharks captain Nicho Hynes who strolled over via a regulation sweep play less than 10 minutes in.

The reigning Dally M Medallist converted his own try to make it six-to-nothing.

Teig Wilton was assisted from the field just 16 minutes in with an apparent lower leg injury.

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The hosts answered just shy of the first quarter mark through Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who was the beneficiary of a sharp string of playmaking on his inside courtesy of Shaun Johnson and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

They quickly snatched the lead off Cronulla through Rocco Berry who charged through off a pristine, last-tackle Johnson face ball and fell over Will Kennedy to score.

Johnson nailed a 40/20 off the corresponding set and laid on the Warriors’ third try by sending a barnstorming Addin Fonua-Blake through some feeble Sharks tackling.

Wayde Egan sliced through straight after and sent former-Shark Luke Metcalf scampering over the try-line for their fourth of the encounter and third in the space of just six minutes.

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Metcalf was denied a second moments later after reeling in a pinpoint Johnson grubber only for the video officials to rule him offside.

The Warriors blew the visitors off the park in the opening half to take a 22-6 advantage into the sheds.

Cronulla’s fightback looked to have begun minutes into the second period with Tom Hazelton gathering in a Johnson kick and galloping 70 metres downfield untouched to fall over the line, however, the video officials picked up on a knock-on in the catch.

Ronaldo Mulitalo was denied a try thanks to some desperate Warriors cover shortly after as the theme of the afternoon became noticeable.


Berry burnt his opposite Siosifa Talakai just shy of the hour mark and found a supporting Nicoll-Klokstad on his inside for the Warriors fifth try and first of the second stanza.

Tohu Harris was denied a try by the video officials an hour in but the floodgates soon reopened with Johnson sending a stampeding Josh Curran sliding over in the aftermath.

Minutes later, Curran flipped the script and found Johnson with a skilful offload of his own with the veteran seven holding the pass up and sending it through the hands to a somersaulting Watene-Zelezniak for his second of the afternoon and 15th of the season.

A scheming Matt Moylan put Briton Nikora through a hole and over next to the sticks late for a consolation try.

The final points of the afternoon belonged to the hosts, however, with Adam Pompey taking advantage of a Hynes sin bin to step his way to the line and score.

Johnson assisted on three tries for the Warriors and kicked for 601 metres whilst Nicoll-Klokstad scored a try, assisted on another, and ran for 198 metres and Berry scored a try, assisted on two others, and ran for 129 metres with seven line breaks.

Not only did the Sharks drop a game to a side they were jostling for top eight positioning with but the 32-point margin meant that both sides’ for-and-against flipped in opposite directions after the visitors entered the clash with an advantage in the department.

The Sharks will host Manly next Sunday in the Shire with both sides in desperate need of a win as the postseason picture continues taking shape.

Cameron Laing
Owner | Local Supporter
Shire Talk

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