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The New Zealand Warriors have thrashed the Penrith Panthers by 54-14 in howling conditions at Mt Smart Stadium tonight.
The Warriors opened the scoring after just two minutes with a try under the posts to five eighth Michael Witt.
The Panthers struck back five minutes later through centre Luke Lewis to make it 6-4 in favour of the Warriors, but that was as close as the visitors would get.
The Warriors defied the conditions to put together their best 40 minutes of the year, running in six tries to two to post a 36-10 half time lead.
The Panthers scored in the 49th minute of the second half through Keith Peters to trail 36-14.
But it would be the last time Penrith would trouble the scoreboard attendant as the Warriors ran in three more tries, Wade McKinnon in outstanding form joining Witt in getting a double, while back rower Louis Anderson scored a well deserved try on the final bell.
The Warriors attack was outstanding throughout, punching holes in the Penrith defence with prop Steve Price setting the platform with a tremendous workload.
Midway through the first half, Warriors centre Tony Martin was sidelined with a suspected rib injury, Michael Witt taking over the goalkicking to eventually kick six goals in addition to his two tries for a personal tally of 20 points.
Overall, the Panthers struggled, with captain Craig Gower's boot failing to deliver, thereby highlighting an ordinary night for the competition's cellar dwellers.
The result sees the Warriors move up to 14 competition points and well in touch with the top eight. Next week they travel to the Gold Coast to take on an in-form Titans.
Next week the Panthers take on the Broncos in Penrith.
Match Details Round 15 - Full Time :: June 22nd, 2007 06:00 PM Venue: Mt Smart Stadium Crowd: 9,978 Referee: Steve Clark Half time: Warriors 36-10
New Zealand Warriors 54 Tries: Michael Witt (2), Wade McKinnon (2), George Gatis, Wairangi Koopu, Epalahame Lauaki, Manu Vatuvei, Louis Anderson Goals: Tony Martin (3/3), Michael Witt (6/6) Penrith Panthers 14 Tries: Luke Lewis, Nick Youngquest, Keith Peters Goals: Michael Gordon (1/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Steve Price (Warriors) 2 Points: Wade McKinnon (Warriors) 1 Point: Louis Anderson (Warriors) LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Mt Smart Stadium. There's been a bit of rain about. Freezing cold and blowing a gale across the ground. Teams still in the sheds. Kick off not far away. KICK OFF!
2 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Five eighth Michael Witt opens the scoring for the home side under the posts after just two minutes. Conversion attempt by centre Tony Martin is successful. New Zealand Warriors 6-0
7 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Panthers strike back through centre Luke Lewis. Conversion attempt by winger Michael Gordon unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 6-4
14 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors George Gatis crashes over as the Warriors appear to have upper hand early on despite having to do a little more tackling. Conversion attempt by Tony Martin successful. New Zealand Warriors 12-4
18 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Witt gets a double! Calls for a forward pass in the lead up. Conversion attempt by Tony Martin successful. New Zealand Warriors 18-4
25 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Wairangi Koopu scores and the home side go further ahead. Warriors have made numerous line breaks and at this stage of the match, are carving Penrith up. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 24-4
31 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Winger Nick Youngquest gets over the chalk following a bomb after the Panthers manage to stem the flow and get some possession back. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. New Zealand Warriors 24-10
37 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Full back Wade McKinnon continues the try-fest for the Warriors. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 30-10
40 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Epalahame Lauaki scores on the stroke of half time as the rout continues. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 36-10
Half time: Warriors 36-10 The scoreline tells the tale. The Warriors are smashing the Panthers on both sides of the ruck with fullback Wade McKinnon chiming in with several line breaks. Prop Evarn Tuimavave has made a line break of his own and plenty of yardage. Pick of the pack is front rower Steve Price with back rower Louis Anderson proving a handful as well. Panthers are proving to be predictable with a lot of one out stuff from dummy half and are pretty much shot to bits. They have all the work to do if they are post a respectable scoreline.
Second half underway...
49 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Rookie Keith Peters opens the scoring for the Panthers in the second half following a kick. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 36-14
60 min: Penrith making a fist of it in the second half and did come close to scoring again, only to be pulled back for an obstruction. But with 20 minutes to go and still 22 points down, its quite a mountain to climb.
64 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors McKinnon gets his double to cap off an excellent match for the fullback. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 42-14
75 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Winger Manu Vattuvei scores to get the Warriors closer to the half century mark. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 48-14
78 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Louis Anderson gets a well deserved try as the Warriors crack the half ton. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 54-14
FULL TIME: Warriors 54-14 Overall and stats-wise, the Warriors actually did a little more tackling, but they made more yardage and line breaks than the Panthers. For the most part, the Warriors dominated with some great runs just wide of the ruck. The Panthers tried to play simple football up the middle in the opening minutes but were consistently hammered by the Warriors and were ultimately unable to provide any answers.