A long distance effort from Konrad Hurrell has given the Warriors an undefeated June and a 18-16 victory over a gallant Broncos side in front of 15,515 fans tonight at Mt Smart.
It was bright sunshine in Auckland, the polar opposite to the Australian eastern seaboard conductive to attacking football. Both teams treated fans to a thrilling contest.
The Warriors started out on top, rolling sixty metres in each set. They capitalised in the twelfth minute with a sweeping play reminiscent of the Storm sending talisman Manu Vatuvei over for the opening try.
Brisbane weathered the early pressure and got their first attacking set. Scott Prince put a early kick through and caught the Warriors up allowing Lachlan Maranta to slide in to reduce the deficit to two.
It was a classic Broncos play that gave the away side the lead as Scott Prince sent it along the backline, allowing Josh Hoffman to sweep across and dive over.
Two minutes before halftime the Warriors continued the tit-for-that nature of the contest. It was who else but the beast Manu Vatuvei who went up high and batted it back for Elijah Taylor to walk in the try. Shaun Johnson put it straight as an arrow, giving the Warriors a 12-10 halftime lead.
After the frantic nature of the opening half, it would have been easy for both sides to start out flat but the pace continued. Brisbane struck the first salvo in the half with Josh Hoffman getting a brace from another lovely backline shift.
It developed into an arm wrestle with both sides knowing that an error could be costly. Warriors cracked first with an errant offload from Sam Rapira giving the Broncos a chance but they couldn't capitalise.
Some second phase play had crept into the game for the Broncos who were making metres at will forcing the Warriors to hold on by the skin of their teeth.
Attacking football turned out to by the Broncos downfall though, as a cut-out pass from Scott Prince found Konrad Hurrell instead of Lachlan Maranta allowing the powerful centre to race 90 metres to put the Warriors back into the lead.
A tense final eight would endure for the Warriors after Shaun Johnson kicked out on the full but they repelled the Broncos on each attempt.
The nerves would rachet up a notch though with a final minute penalty given to the Broncos. Scott Prince gave the possibly tying kick to Corey Parker who had the distance but not the accuracy leaving them two short and making it an undefeated June for the home side.
Next week's task is a big one for the Warriors as they head to Perth for a clash with ladder leaders South Sydney on Sunday afternoon, while the Broncos face an equally arduous assignment, up against the Storm at AAMI Park on Friday night.
New Zealand Warriors 18 Brisbane Broncos 16
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Halftime Score: New Zealand Warriors 12-10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Peter Wallace
2 points - Glen Fisiiahi
1 point - Nathan Friend
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (18)
Tries: Manu Vatuvei, Elijah Taylor, Konrad Hurrell
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (3/3)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (16)
Tries: Lachlan Maranta, Peter Wallace, Josh Hoffman
Conversions: Scott Prince (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Corey Parker (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Interchange: 15. Jacob Lillyman 16. Todd Lowrie 17. Dominique Peyroux 20. Suaia Matagi
Broncos: 1. Corey Norman 2. Josh Hoffman 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Scott Prince 7. Peter Wallace 8. Ben Hannant 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Sam Thaiday 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt 15. Josh McGuire 16. David Hala 17. Mitchell Dodds 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. Dunamis Lui
The Brisbane Broncos have no changes to the side named Tuesday, 1-17.
Scored by Manu Vatuvei. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
A lovely sweeping play from the Warriors produces our first TRY. Mateo finds some space, fends Prince and offloads to Nielsen who finds who else but Manu Vatuvei who strolls in and walks it under the posts. Johnson slots the easy conversion.
New Zealand Warriors 6-0
Scored by Lachlan Maranta. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful.
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! Lachlan Maranta finishes off a lovely kick from Scott Prince. Broncos make use of their first opportunity in the Warriors end. Tough first assignment for Prince, taking this from the sideline, misses.
New Zealand Warriors 6-4
Scored by Peter Wallace. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! Glen Fisiahii jumps up for the bomb, spills it and clashes with his own player allowing Wallace to get a toe on the ball and follow through for a TRY. Scott Prince with an easier assignment, slams it through.
Brisbane Broncos 10-6
Scored by Elijah Taylor. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
The bomb has been the go today and it has prospered again. Manu Vatuvei goes up to contest with Maranta and leaps higher, knocks it back for Elijah Taylor to score. Shaun Johnson slots the goal for the lead.
New Zealand Warriors 12-10
Scored by Josh Hoffman. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
Simple beautiful execution there. Broncos go down their left with some quick passing as Hoffman swept across and slid in for the TRY. Scott Prince straight as an arrow with the conversion.
Brisbane Broncos 16-12
Scored by Konrad Hurrell. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
Broncos pulling out some Warrior style football with the offloads and look certain to score with Prince sending a cut-out pass to his winger but INTERCEPTED by Konrad Hurrell who goes the distance to score despite a valiant chase from Sam Thaiday. Shaun Johnson stabs it over.
New Zealand Warriors 18-16