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3 days ago
A magic performance from Ali Lauiti'iti powered the Warriors to a crushing 46-10 win over South Sydney at Aussie Stadium last night.
The Warriors remain unbeaten in Australia this season, stay in third position in the NRL and have now strung together eight consecutive wins.
Their eight tries ensured they remained the leading attacking team in the competition and their brilliance, from anywhere on the park, highlighted why they are a team no one will want to face in the playoffs. Much of the magic came from Lauiti'iti with Stacey Jones and Clinton Toopi also producing great touches.
Just when fans think they have seen it all from Lauiti'iti, who has a passion for basketball, he produces another touch of Michael Jordan proportions. Last night he had a hand in three of the Warriors' four tries of the first half with each one resulting from a different skill and one in the second spell.
The match was effectively all over at halftime when the Warriors led 24-0 and the visitors were assured of the two points when forwards Mark Tookey and Justin Morgan scored in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The Warriors always looked likely to crack the Souths defence out wide with Toopi a constant thorn while some of the Warriors defence was staggering.
Richard Villasanti produced a series of brutal hits which must have jolted the attention of the New South Wales State of Origin selectors.
The only downside for the Warriors was prop Jerry Seuseu being placed on report after a high shot on Paul Stringer.
Souths, who have now lost four consecutive games, made the stronger start forcing back to back sets with a well weighted kick to the in goal and applied great pressure to the Warriors' line.
Luke Stuart actually touched down but the video referee rightly ruled that he was offside when he received the ball. It was one of two occasions referee Tim Mander went upstairs inside the first 10 minutes.
The second danger moment for the Warriors came when former Warrior Jason Death ran from dummy half and looked certain to score but as he dived the ball was dislodged in a Toopi tackle.
The Rabbitohs were making good metres on their sets and they should have had points on the board.
But a feature of the Warriors' season has been their ability to soak up pressure and then score breakout tries which rip the heart out of oppositions. Last night, there was a sudden, first-spell avalanche.
First PJ Marsh produced one of the best dummy half tries fans will see this season. Running from inside his own half, he beat three Souths defenders and then he outsprinted another two.
Then the Lauiti'iti show began as the Warriors scored a hat-trick of tries between the 13th and 22nd minutes and had an unbeatable 24-0 lead.
The backrower scored his first when he plucked a Jones bomb from the hands of Souths fullback Andrew King and scored.
In the next, Lauiti'iti was at the other end of the move. He started it when he produced an offload (he leads the NRL in this department) inside his own 30 metres and ignited the best try of the game.
The momentum of the move was maintained by Toopi, who produced another fine performance, and even though the initial charge was halted the Souths defence had as many holes in it as a summer singlet. When the Warriors switched their attack to the right, Henry Fa'afili was always going to score.
It is usually Lauiti'iti's ball skills which are lauded but he displayed a new talent when his grubber kick set up a four pointer for Justin Murphy.
The Warriors, especially down their left flank, were threatening to puncture the home side's defensive line at will but Souths, rallied by Death, Paul Stringer and Andrew Hart, who made 18 first half tackles, showed plenty of courage.
Souths enjoyed some good field possession but the Rabbitohs attack looked one-dimensional, seemingly reliant on grubber kicks into the in-goal area. It wasn't till the 26th minute of the second spell that Justin Brooker scored.
Warriors: (H Fa'afili 2, PJ Marsh, A Lauiti'iti, J Murphy, M Tookey, J Morgan, I Cleary tries, Cleary seven goals).
Souths: (J Brooker, A King tries, O Craigie goal).
Halftime: Warriors 24-0.