Warriors roll wasteful Tigers

A sublime performance from halfback Shaun Johnson has guided the New Zealand Warriors to a 24-14 victory over the Wests Tigers tonight at Leichhardt Oval in front of 11,436 fans.

With a point to prove following the midweek news of Benji Marshall's impending departure from the club, the Wests Tigers started indifferently, spilling the ball in the first set and being forced to defend their line early.

The Tigers were quickly able to turn rocks into diamonds at the other end of the park, winger David Nofoaluma benefiting from a simple overlap to score in the corner just a few minutes later. Playing some exciting footy, they went on to add to the scoreboard in the 14th minute when Chris Lawrence made the Warriors defence look feeble. Two misses from two attempts from Marshall meant the hosts remained within striking distance for a gallant Warriors side, who were able to get on the board themselves through halfback Shaun Johnson in the 30th minute.

What followed was one of the better individual efforts of the season, with Tigers' winger Tim Simona swatting off several defenders before kicking ahead, seemingly for inside support runners, instead chasing the kick himself and getting to the ball first to score. The try meant the hosts led by eight at halftime.

Another diabolical start for the Tigers saw the Warriors score in the first minute of the second half, Konrad Hurrell grabbing his side's second try.

The Tigers fought back and almost scored in the 50th minute before New Zealand took the lead for the first time in the 56th. A Tigers kick across field was collected by Shaun Johnson and the young half sprinted almost 90 metres to score and put his side in front. Simon Mannering almost followed it up minutes later but was ruled to have knocked on.

Mannering wasn't to be denied a second time in the 69th minute though, benefiting from a Shaun Johnson kick ahead to score the match-sealer. Johnson maintained a perfect kicking record nailing four from four, before missing a field goal attempt just seconds from fulltime.

The win puts the Warriors within swatting distance of the edge of the eight, equal with a glut of teams on 20 competition points as the race for positions in the lower half of the top 8 heats up. The Tigers now sit four points adrift with the Broncos and Cowboys leap-frogging them on points differential.

Next week the Tigers will face a stern test when they host Manly at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday night, while the Warriors will be looking to test their credentials when they host the Storm at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Match Details
Wests Tigers 14 New Zealand Warriors 24
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Crowd: 11436
Halftime Score: Wests Tigers 14-6

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Shaun Johnson
2 points - Konrad Hurrell
1 point - David Nofoaluma

WESTS TIGERS (14)
Tries: David Nofoaluma, Chris Lawrence, Tim Simona
Conversions: Benji Marshall (1/3)

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (24)
Tries: Shaun Johnson (2), Konrad Hurrell, Simon Mannering
Field Goals: Shaun Johnson (0/1)
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (4/4)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

TEAM CHANGES: Tigers 1-17, Warriors: Jacob Lilyman starts, Ben Matulino to the bench, Matagi comes on to the bench with Charlie Gubb dropping off
1 min: Oh dear... a diabolical start from the Tigers, an error on tackle two and the Warriors have the ball!
3 min: Great defence from the Tigers at the end of the first set for NZ... Vatuvei tackled and that'll be a handover.
7 min: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by David Nofoaluma. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
The hosts are on the board first - rookie David Nofoaluma scores in the corner! Benji can't add the extras.
Wests Tigers 4-0
11 min: Tigers force a line drop-out with some enterprising play on the last. Vatuvei bats it dead.
14 min: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Chris Lawrence. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
Some poor defence out wide from the Warriors sees Chris Lawrence slice through the line. The wind isn't helping Marshall, who misses another conversion attempt.
Wests Tigers 8-0
17 min: Tim Simona kicks the ball dead in his own in-goal... Warriors have forced a drop-out. Their first chance now since the opening minutes.
18 min: Nothing doing for the Warriors, they played some panic footy which finished with a kick across field which fell into Tigers' hands.
22 min: Penalty for the Tigers coming out of their own end. Warriors struggling to match the Tigers intensity so far.
26 min: The Warriors start to string some passes together but the Tigers scramble to defend and come up with the ball from a loose pass. To compound the matter, the Warriors concede a penalty coming out of their own end.
30 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Shaun Johnson. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
A great break for the Warriors and it's Suaua Matagi throwing the final pass for Shaun Johnson to score the visitors' first. He converts his own try, reducing the margin to two. Momentum shift in progress!
Wests Tigers 8-6
36 min: Ouch. Benji Marshall kicks out on the full on the last. Warriors with a set inside Tigers' territory here...
37 min: Error from NZ. Tigers scrum.
39 min: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Tim Simona. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
WOW! A superb individual effort from Tim Simona - he gets the ball out wide inside his own half, gets away from several defenders before kicking ahead for himself... he wins the race and grounds it! Marshall converts for an eight-point lead at the break.
Wests Tigers 14-6
That's halftime at Leichhardt... the Tigers dominated large parts and would be happy going into the break eight points in front. The Warriors showed glimpses, including the fantastic Johnson try, but will need to lift to get past a Tigers side hungry to maintain winning form with finals footy still a possibility.
41 min: Play resumes at Leichhardt. Warriors in possession first up.
42 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Konrad Hurrell. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
Terrible defence from the Tigers... Hurrell's crossed early for the Warriors and Johnson converts! Great start for the visitors!
Wests Tigers 14-12
46 min: Tigers nearly with a try there but the ball is lost, Warriors retain possession according to Sutton & Patten in the video box.
48 min: Warriors with a penalty, they look to spread it wide on the last but Hurrell is bundled into touch by Chris Lawrence... and now the Tigers' centre looks light on his feet.
50 min: Liam Fulton makes an enterprising bust down the right side but he's lost the ball into touch, Warriors will get a scrum on their own 20m.
56 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Shaun Johnson. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
A scintillating try from the Warriors, Shaun Johnson scoops up a kick deep in his own half and outpaces the opposition to run around 80 metres. He converts his own try.
New Zealand Warriors 18-14
59 min: VIDEO REFEREE - possible Warriors TRY to Simon Mannering, referee makes the "T" sign...
59 min: ...but the men upstairs negate Badger's decision, it's NO TRY, knock-on by Mannering ruled. Tigers 20m restart.
61 min: More superb play up the middle from Shaun Johnson sees the ball kicked ahead... then it's kicked again, but Tim Simona bats it dead. Tigers to drop out, Warriors with another chance here...
62 min: Bold defence from the Tigers forces the error from the Warriors. Wests scrum on their own 10m.
69 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Simon Mannering. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
Johnson's on fire! He puts a neat kick through for his skipper and Mannering won't be denied this time. That might just be enough as Johnson converts for a ten point lead.
New Zealand Warriors 24-14
70 min: We spoke too soon. Johnson's spilled the ball, the Tigers have it 10m from the Warriors' line!
72 min: Konrad Hurrell has seemingly put a shoulder charge on Chris Lawrence, without the ball no less - and the touch judge has come in late to point it out to the ref. Tigers penalty.
73 min: Nothing doing for the Tigers, they rush the ball to the right hand touchline and it doesn't make for good viewing for the Leichhardt faithful. The ball finishes in the Warriors' hands.
CROWD: Speaking of the Leichhardt faithful, there's 11,436 of them here tonight.
75 min: Breathtaking moment where Hurrell dived through and almost got the ball down inside the dead ball line despite everyone thinking it had already gone dead. Referee confidently calls 20m restart for the Tigers.
77 min: Hurrell in everything at the end of this contest, he puts the ball down in the corner... wait, nope, there's a knock on there. Tigers 20m restart.
80 min: UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Field goal attempt by Shaun Johnson unsuccessful.
Shaun Johnson has a stab at the field goal but it hits the post. That'll be all with just 20 seconds on the clock.
New Zealand Warriors 24-14
GAME OVER - the Warriors have joined several clubs on 20 competition points with a well-earned victory over the Tigers. Sadly Benji Marshall does not leave Leichhardt for the final time as a winner.
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