Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The Warriors opened proceedings after just 10 minutes with five eighth Joel Moon running on the last tackle after sighting a gap in the Parramatta defence.
Eels winger Eric Grothe made good of his comeback match with a try on the 24th minute.
But the Warriors struck back with utility Lance Hohaia scoring the first of his double in the 30th minute to make it 18-6 and take the match to half time.
Hohaia was in again soonafter the break, stepping through some ordinary defence and highlighting some worrying signs for the Parramatta side.
Kemp slotted a penalty goal in the 46th minute to make it 26-6, and the Warriors looked set to go on with it.
An injury to Hohaia - forcing the former Kiwi international from the field in the 48th minute - coincided with a resurgence from the Eels.
The Warriors however, were able to keep the Eels scoreless for the remainder of the match, kicking off their NRL campaign with a sparkling first up victory.
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Joel Moon (Warriors) 2 Points: Lance Hohaia (Warriors) 1 Point: Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)
TEAMS WARRIORS: 1. Wade McKinnon 2. Denan Kemp 3. Brent Tate 4. Jerome Ropati 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Joel Moon 7. Nathan Fien 15. Russell Packer 9. Ian Henderson 10. Steve Price (c) 11. Simon Mannering 12. Ben Matulino 13. Micheal Luck Interchange: 8. Sam Rapira 14. Lance Hohaia 16. Jacob Lillyman 17. Leeson Ah Mau EELS: 1. Luke Burt 2. Joel Reddy 3. Ben Smith 4. Krisnan Inu 5. Eric Grothe 6. Jarryd Hayne 7. Brett Finch 8. Nathan Cayless 9. Matt Keating 10. Josh Cordoba 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Weller Huaraki 13. Feleti Mateo Interchange: 14. Kris Keating Tim Mannah 17. Fuifui Moimoi 19. Joe Galuvao
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Big crowd at Mt Smart Stadium. A moment's silence is observed for young player Sonny Fai who tragically died in a swimming accident over the off season. Teams pretty much as per the card. For the Warriors, No. 8 Sam Rapira has dropped to the bench with Russell Packer running on. For Parra, Joe Galuvao has been promoted from reserve to the bench.
5 min: Warriors getting the early run of play. Parra concede a penalty and withstand a set while defending their line.
8 min: It's all the Warriors with winger Manu Vatuvei charging down the left side from close range and coming within a whisker of scoring.
10 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Five eighth Joel Moon is over for the home side, the Warriors running on the last and the Eels defence opening up. Conversion attempt from almost in front by Denan Kemp successful. New Zealand Warriors 6-0
13 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Front rower Russell Packer barges over to score under the posts. Warriors keeping the ball alive with Moon in particular exploiting the left side. A Parra defence under the pump and looking soft around the ruck. Conversion attempt by Kemp successful. New Zealand Warriors 12-0
17 min: The Eels launch their own attacking raid at the other end, coming close but desperate defence and the ball carrier just falling short on the last tackle.
24 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Eric Grothe in his first match back for the Eels scores 12m in from touch. A snappy flick pass inside from Ben Smith sucking in the Warriors defenders out wide. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. New Zealand Warriors 12-6
30 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Utility Lance Hohaia scores next to the sticks after halfback Nathan Fein pops a pass out the back. Eels defence is shot to bits after Warriors turn up the heat. Another top run from Manu Vatuvei. Eels backrower Nathan Hindmarsh doing a mountain of work in defence. Conversion attempt by Kemp successful. New Zealand Warriors 18-6
38 min: End-to-end stuff with Parramatta launching a counter attack, only to see the ball go to ground. Warriors then charge back with centre Jerome Ropati making a bust downfield, again on the Warriors' left side of the ruck.
Half time: Warriors 18-6 The stats favour the Warriors in offloads, completions, possession and on the scoreboard. The Eels looking a little shell shocked and have all the work to do.
Weather: A bit of rain about now, making for a slippery surface in the second half.
Second half underway...
42 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors First receiver from the scrum base, Lance Hohaia brushes aside some woeful defence from Luke Burt and Brett Finch, racing through to score under the posts. Follows a knock-on from Eric Grothe to give the Warriors the scrum feed from 20m out. Conversion attempt by Kemp successful. New Zealand Warriors 24-6
46 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand Warriors Denan Kemp puts the Warriors further ahead with a penalty goal from 30m out and almost in front. New Zealand Warriors 26-6
48 min: INJURY - Hohaia off the field and being seen to for possible knee injury.
51 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Five eighth Jarryd Hayne scores under the posts after taking a short pass from Brett Finch, going through a gap from close range. Warriors forced to defend after Wade McKinnon spilled a high kick from Finch. Conversion attempt by Burt successful. New Zealand Warriors 26-12
55 min: News from the sheds - Hohaia looks to have knee ligament damage and will take no further part.
56 min: HELD-UP - Eels denied. Warriors survive two sets on their own line. Eels lifting and getting a little more possession.
60 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Centre Krisnan Inu scores 8m in from touch. Great pass out the back from lock forward Feleti Mateo. Parra with a roll-on and coming back! Conversion attempt by Burt successful. New Zealand Warriors 26-18
68 min: Parramatta with the ball after Warriors prop Steve Price, celebrating his 300th game, takes exception to a Parra player hanging on. Price concedes a penalty whilst in possession, losing his cool and lashing out.
75 min: Full time looming. Eels with plenty of opportunities but unable to finish off. Entertaining and open play from both sides.
76 min: Parra's Fuifui Moimoi hammers Warriors' lock Micheal Luck with a big tackle, jolting the ball loose and Luck is knocked out. Looks legit but the ref stops plays, places Moimoi on report and gives the Warriors a penalty. Controversial ruling which effectively puts the match result beyond doubt. Luck is assisted from the field.
Full time: Warriors 26-18 Deserving first up win for the Warriors. Far too good in the first half and looking to have wrapped up the match just after the half time break. Parra made a game of it after that but the home side were able to hold on for the latter stages of the second half.