The New Zealand Warriors have not exactly been setting the ground ablaze thus far in the 2017 Telstra NRL Premiership competition, but they had a nice outing against the Sydney Roosters at Mount St Smart Stadium yesterday, an effort that supplied them with a 14 – 13 win, along with copious praise for a defensive effort that was somewhat hyperbolically described as their best of the decade.
Not since the Warriors incredibly limited the Penrith Panthers to six points in a 2010 match, where the Warriors overcame an 11 – 3 penalty count and a 59 – 8 Panthers’ advantage in tackles in the 20-metre zone, have the Warriors put on such an impressive display of stinginess.
At times, especially in the second half, the Warriors seemed on the verge of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the feet, when they allowed the Roosters into the match by sacrificing possession and initiative, but they rose to the occasions and showed that when it was time to defend their line, defend it they did. To some, it was an ominous omen reminiscent of the second half collapses against Canberra and Melbourne and indicated that there are areas on which the Warriors need to concentrate on improving.
The entire Warriors side put forth an all-round performance, but Isaac Luke, Ryan Hoffman and Simon Mannering were particularly conspicuous.
They also were on the proper side of the equation when referee Ashley Klein made a rare penalty decision that played a major role in preventing the Warriors from experiencing their third consecutive loss.