Fresh off their most dominant performance of the season, the Warriors’ pack is hungry for more this Friday night against the Parramatta Eels in Sydney.
Last week – albeit against a depleted Brisbane Broncos side – the Kiwi outfit powered to 1849 metres, their highest haul of the season, helped greatly by seven forwards running for over 80 metres individually.
But it was about more than just numbers, with the Warriors’ big men showing a ruthless edge seldom seen in 2017, with Albert Vete and Sam Lisone both coming off the bench to carry for over 100 metres and add to the platform laid by starting props Ben Matulino and James Gavet.
Lisone said it was pleasing to see the effect it had on his team, who picked up their first win in three games by downing the Broncos 28-10 at Mount Smart Stadium.
“I would say that was [the best forward showing of the year], from the boys that started everything just went our way and we earned our right to play off the back of it through Shauny [Johnson] and those guys,” Lisone said.
big performance by @NZWarriors forwards last night. In particular Albert Vete, way to fight for your spot.
— James Peti (@jpeti267) May 27, 2017
“That’s what we are trying to do, create opportunities for our spine players, create quick play the balls for ‘Bully’ [Issac Luke] and for Shaun to get space out wide. That’s what happened on the weekend.
“I was pretty happy that we could do that for them and hopefully we can replicate it this week against Parramatta.”
Prior to last weekend the Warriors averaged only 1537 metres gained per match, ranking them outside of the NRL’s top half in terms of yardage.
The uninspiring form of the coach Stephen Kearney’s pack had also been a leading factor in their much-vaunted spine failing to fire on a number of occasions.
But against the Broncos, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kieran Foran and Johnson were all able to get back to their running best, each clocking over 100 metres, while veteran rake Luke also enjoyed his best attacking game of the year.
— NRL (@NRL) May 27, 2017
Interchange hooker Nathaniel Roache said it had been a noticeable difference for the side’s playmakers.
“The forwards were awesome, I thought they carried the ball really well and defended really well too,” Roache said.
“Our middles needed to be a bit more aggressive in attack and defence and on the weekend they showed that, so we just need to carry it on.
“It does change how we can get a roll on, you watch ‘Bully’ in that game, it was his best performance of the year and when the forwards are going that well he has the freedom to run around and create opportunities.
“I could feel it when I came on, just that bit more confidence to have a run.
“Shaun can do freakish things without any go forward, but that shows how much we can help him out with the forward effort.”