McKinnon sparks Warriors victory

The Warriors have put an end to their losing streak and extended that of the Tigers, taking the win 14-0 at a slippery Mt Smart this evening.

Numerous handling errors from both sides (26 in total) meant for a low scoring battle. Inspirational work from Wade McKinnon in defence, along with some puzzling attacking decisions kept the visitors scoreless throughout. Three Warriors tries saw them home and coach Ivan Cleary will surely sleep a little easier this week.

The only scoring play of the first half came after half an hour. A Tigers knock-on gave the Warriors an attacking scrum of which they managed to take advantage. Moon and Mannering employed a run-around move towards the left wing, Moon gave it to Ropati who flicked it to debutant Locke, he sped in at an angle and crashed over for his first NRL try.

Six minutes after the break the Warriors broadened the gap to ten points. Stacey Jones gave an inside ball to Russell Packer who popped a short pass to McKinnon. McKinnon hit the ball at pace and managed to wrestle the ball down between the posts with defenders on his back.

Just before the full-time siren Locke cheerfully dotted down again to give the final score of 14-0.

Kevin Locke was very impressive on debut, bagging two tries and a conversion, he will have made it difficult for Denan Kemp to find a spot in the side to return to. Stand-in captain Michael Luck led his team in defence, making 54 tackles. McKinnon returned to form in a big way, squeezing out of the in-goal a number of times and making crucial tackles. Another stand-out performer for the Warriors was Manu Vatuvei, making several barnstorming charges to work his side out of their end.

The Tigers seemed to sorely miss the presence of Robbie Farah who is away on representative duty. Benji Marshall was forced to shoulder almost all kicking duties and it appeared to prove too much of a workload. Daine Laurie stepped up and his intensity stood out, but the Tigers rarely looked likely to score. They will be desperate for a win over the Panthers next week to avert stretching their losing streak to five.

Match Details New Zealand Warriors 14 def Wests Tigers 0 Round 12 - Sunday May 31st, 2009 02:00pm Venue: Mt Smart Stadium Referee: Gavin Badger & Brett Suttor Sideline Officials: Daniel Eastwood & Gerard Sutton Video Referee: Chris Ward Crowd: 15,635 Halftime: Warriors 4-0

New Zealand Warriors 14 Tries: Kevin Locke (2), Wade McKinnon
Goals: Kevin Locke (1/3) Wests Tigers (0) Player of the Match 3 Points: Wade McKinnon (Warriors) 2 Points: Michael Luck (Warriors) 1 Point: Kevin Locke (Warriors) Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Warriors v Tigers forum discussion - click here!

WARRIORS: 1. Wade McKinnon 2. Kevin Locke 3. Patrick Ah Van 4. Jerome Ropati 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Joel Moon 7. Stacey Jones 8. Sam Rapira 9. Aaron Heremaia 10. Jesse Royal 11. Simon Mannering 12. Jacob Lillyman 13. Micheal Luck (c) Interchange: 14. Lance Hohaia 15. Russell Packer 16. Lewis Brown 17. Ben Matulino

TIGERS: 1. Tim Moltzen 2. Taniela Tuiaki 3. Peni Tagive 4. Dene Halatau 5. Beau Ryan 6. Blake Ayshford 7. Benji Marshall 8. Bryce Gibbs 9. John Morris 10. Todd Payten 11. Gareth Ellis 12. Chris Heighington 13. Corey Payne Interchange: 14. Rhys Hanbury 15. Rocky Trimarchi 16. John Skandalis 17. Daine Laurie

TAB Sportsbet Odds: Warriors $1.47 Tigers $2.60

League Unlimited Poll: Warriors 32% Tigers 63% Draw 5%

Last Meeting: Warriors 28 Tigers 26 (Round 16 2008)

Toyota Cup: Warriors 24 Tigers 24

Auckland Weather at 3pm: Temperature: 12