Warriors capitulate in shambolic defeat to Gold Coast Titans

David Skipwith, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sunday, 29 July 2018, 6:30PM
Shaun Johnson of the Warriors looks dejected as they fell apart in the second half (Image / Getty Images)
Shaun Johnson of the Warriors looks dejected as they fell apart in the second half (Image / Getty Images)

The Jekyll and Hyde Warriors put their NRL finals hopes in jeopardy after capitulating 36-12 to the Titans on the Gold Coast today.

The Auckland outfit led 12-8 at halftime but clocked off in the second half as the lowly Titans roared back with five unanswered tries to claim their first win over the Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium since the 2010 finals series.

The Warriors had plenty of time to turn things around but their big playmakers failed to inspire a comeback and their defence fell to pieces as the home side ran riot.

The Warriors might have been missing Kiwi international forwards Issac Luke (calf), Tohu Harris (knee) and Adam Blair (suspension), but still had enough attacking weapons to launch a comeback. However, their halves pairing of Shaun Johnson and Blake Green, as well as fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, were easily contained.

After starting their campaign with five straight wins, the loss heaps further doubt on the Warriors ability to go on and secure their first playoff appearance since 2011.

The Warriors remain in eighth spot on the premiership ladder but they are left vulnerable with Wests Tigers lurking four points behind with five rounds remaining in the regular season.

It doesn't get any easier for the Auckland-based outfit who have now suffered back-to-back losses for the second time this year ahead of next Saturday's daunting away match against the St George Illawarra Dragons in Wollongong.

The Warriors will now need to face up to some brutal home truths regarding their fragile form and urgently find some answers while they remain in camp across the Tasman ahead of meeting the Dragons.

It took just six minutes for the NRL's worrying trend of controversial refereeing decisions to rear its head again when Warriors defender Joseph Vuna was impeded by Titans decoy runner Keegan Hipgrave in the lead-up to Konrad Hurrell scoring the Titans' first try.

Video referee Henry Perenara decided "minimal contact" had been made and gave the green light to help the Titans claim a 6-0 lead, before the Warriors levelled the scores following their first try through Johnson.

The Titans edged ahead with a penalty goal to fullback Michael Gordon but the Warriors hit back with bench hooker Karl Lawton scoring against his former club to put them four points ahead at halftime.

The Warriors had looked the better side until the second half began with Titans centre Brenko Lee turning the game when he created a try for wing Anthony Don before stealing an intercept to run in their third to put them eight points clear.

The home side continued to grow in confidence with a fourth try to playmaker AJ Brimson, and a double to left-wing Phillip Sami closing the door nine minutes before fulltime.

Titans 36 (Phillip Sami 2, Konrad Hurrell, Anthony Don, Brenko Lee, AJ Brimson tries; Michael Gordon 5/6 cons, 1/2 pens)
Warriors 12 (Shaun Johnson, Karl Lawton tries; Johnson 2 cons)

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