Marking the ten year anniversary of their inception to the competition, the Warriors took on the Broncos who defeated them in their first premiership match back in 1995. But today the Warriors reversed the result with a solid victory that was much needed and keeps their hopes alive for a semi final spot.
It brings to an end a 10 match winning streak by the Broncos, with them threatening to push further ahead of the competition which they lead convincingly at the moment. The match overall was a clean spectacle and very enjoyable to watch. For the first time in a while the referee, Sean Hampstead, allowed play to flow and only interjected when he was required. He didn�t go to the video referee unless it was absolutely necessary and his decisions favoured neither side.
This allowed the game to open up in the second half after a tight first forty that saw plenty of footy up the middle of the park and few ventures down the side of the field.
Once again Stacey Jones lead the Warriors around superbly with his forwards doing their best to create some room for him to move. Nathan Fien had an unhappy day, constantly finding the ire of the referee until he was officially warned. The entire Warriors pack really stood up to the Broncos who at times seemed flat and one dimensional.
For the Broncos, Lockyer tried hard but didn�t have as much time as he usually does and the backs were a little quiet, with Justin Hodges having a sound game including a terrific bust to set up Michaels for his try. Bott was contained by his opponent as both Warriors wingers made their presence felt.
The result compresses the table a little more and ensures a tough task for teams trying to enter the top eight heading into the tail end of the season, with for and against sure to play a vital role.
Scorers: NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS Tries: Koopu 2, Hohaia, Faumuina, Vatuvei, Meli Goals: Jones 3/5, Fien 0/1 BRISBANE BRONCOS Tries: Bott, Michaels, Seymour Goals: Lockyer 3/3
Referee: Sean Hampstead Venue: Ericsson Stadium Crowd: 13,752 Half time: Warriors 18-12
What a beautiful day here in Auckland, with the 10 year anniversary of the Warriors inclusion in the competition against their first rivals in the Brisbane Broncos. The Warriors have won five of the past seven encounters between these teams.
Broncos: Michaels in for Tate on the wing. Warriors: As per the program.
1 min: And we're underway here today through the boot of the Warriors, wearing their original strip.
6 min: TRY - Broncos. After a mountain of possession early on, Brisbane capitalise with a try to Leon Bott in the south-eastern corner of the ground. Good lead-up work by Barry Berrigan. Lockyer slots the conversion from the sideline with a beauty of a kick. Broncos 6 Warriors 0.
13 min: TRY - Warriors. An amazing series of runs, passes and offloads leads to Lance Hohaia backing up in the middle of the field and dashing 20m to score where he still had plenty of work to do getting the ball down. Jones converts and it's all locked up. Broncos 6 Warriors 6.
23 min: NEWS - Broncos denied a try after an obstruction rulung from referee Hampstead.
25 min: TRY - Warriors. An almost laughable try is scored here by the Warriors as they pressed the line on the fifth tackle. Wairangi Koopu was seemingly held by the Broncos defenders before he crawled a metre or two and simply planted the ball on the line. It was referred to the video ref amid suggestions of a double movement, but then awarded when the replays showed quite clearly that he wasn't held. Jones converts and the Warriors take the lead. Warriors 12 Broncos 6.
29 min: TRY - Broncos. A fantastic break by Justin Hodges down the eastern side of the field from inside his own 20m leads to a superb try to winger Michaels who brings it around under the posts. Lockyer converts and we're all locked up again. Warriors 12 Broncos 12.
40 min: TRY - Warriors. A cross field kick on the last by Jones sees Manu Vatuvei bat the ball back for Sione Faumuina to score out wide. Jones adds the extras and the home team take a six point lead into the break. Warriors 18 Broncos 12.
Half time: The Warriors are playing good footy here today, relatively mistake free and just going about their business with a minimum of fuss. The Broncos are looking a little flat and patchy, it remains to be seen how they approach the second half. There might be another upset on the horizon.
41 min: And the Broncos restart the play in the second half.
Crowd announced as 13,752 which is encouraging.
45 min: NEWS - Broncos putting on the pressure right now with the weight of possession going their way in the second half.
52 min: NEWS - The game is opening up a bit here as both teams look to spread the ball a bit and chance their hand.
60 min: NEWS - Nathan Fien (Warriors) has just been penalised for the third time and now warned by the ref. He's having a very undisciplined game and may cost the Warriors dearly.
61 min: TRY - Broncos. Seymour crosses for the Broncos after a good dart out of dummy half by Berrigan. Lockyer converts and we're all tied up again. Warriors 18 Broncos 18.
64 min: TRY - Warriors. From a scrum the Warriors push it wide and pick up Manu Vatuvei who strolls over out wide. Jones misses his first for the day and the game is setting up for a great finish. Warriors 22 Broncos 18.
68 min: TRY - Warriors. Francis Meli scores in the corner as the Warriors spread the ball wide and take advantage of an overlap. They look to have the Broncos measure and this might be enough to get them home. Jones misses again. Warriors 26 Broncos 18.
76 min: NEWS - Broncos trapped in goal as the Warriors look to wrap up the game.
79 min: TRY - Warriors. Wairangi Koopu crosses out wide for his second of the day off a good backline movement as the Warriors tidy up proceedings. Fien splays the ball very wide. Warriors 30 Broncos 18.
Full time: A sensational victory to the Warriors who played good footy all day and eventually wore down their opponents in the Broncos. A great contest all round.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - W Koopu (Warriors) 2 - S Faumuina (Warriors) 1 - S Jones (Warriors) -----------------------------------------