Warriors Shut-Out Tigers In The Rain
The New Zealand Warriors have made it three dominant wins in a row to start the season, shutting out the Wests Tigers 36-0 in their own backyard.
It also marks the third consecutive heavy defeat for the Wests Tigers, who are certainly competing in each game, but are leaking too many points at critical times.
Despite the wet and windy conditions, Mason Lino had the game in his control all match, while Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was a devastating as ever.
A beautiful left-to-right shift opened the scoring for the Warriors, with the established partnership of Lino and Nicoll-Klokstad combining to create space for Fetalaiga Pauga, who put on a deadly step to beat his opponent and stroll over the line.
Matt Ballin went incredibly close when he darted from dummy half on the last tackle, but only one set later the Warriors were back on the attack thanks to a Tigers error. The visitors capitalised on the situation through Matt Allwood, who took advantage of defenders trying to adjust from the previous error.
The Tigers then had multiple try-scoring chances but were unable to execute, before a Lino 40/20 put the Warriors straight back into optimal field position.
They didn’t score from the ensuing set, but they did not have to wait long, when Semisi Fotu took advantage of backtracking markers to force his way over the line from dummy half, which increased the Warriors lead to 16-0.
The Tigers did themselves no favours by giving away a penalty with less than two minutes to go in the opening, and the pure class of Lino took full advantage of the situation when he kicked a pin-point perfect grubber for Pauga to dive on and secure his double.
Just minutes into the second half, the Warriors extended their lead to 26-0 when Taniela Palavi caught a face-ball, spun out of a tackle and muscled his way over the line adjacent to the posts.
The brilliance of Nicoll-Klokstad struck once again when he danced around various Tigers defenders and accelerated through a gap to score in the same spot as the previous try.
Sam Cook put an amazing punt downfield that fell one blade of grass short of the dead ball line that forced a drop-out, but the Tigers defence held strong on this occasion to prevent another try.
A stroke of luck pushed the score out to 36-0, when Isaiah Papalii jumped on a loose ball that deflected off a defender that came off the back of an Allwood forced dropout, which ended up being the full-time score.
Warriors 36 (J Pauga, M Allwood, S Fotu, T Palavi, C Nicoll-Klokstad, I Papalii tries; M Lino 4 goals) def Wests Tigers 0