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A wet cold night in Auckland was just the tonic for the Warriors to break their recent losing streak, the hosts chalking up a 22-6 victory over the last-placed Gold Coast Titans tonight.
The home side would start the better of the two sides, and opened the scoring after a near-perfect behind-the-line grubber from James Maloney found a charging Shaun Berrigan on the ninth minute. Maloney's conversion gave the Warriors an early 6-0 lead, and they would not trail again from there. A second try ten minutes later to winger Bill Tupou had the Warriors looking strong, but soon after the Titans managed to wrestle back control of possession.
A Gold Coast try from William Zillman 28 minutes into the clash gave the cellar-dwellers hope. It was scored in much the same way the Warriors' first try to Berrigan - a well-placed grubber from Prince this time finding his man. The Titans later starved themselves of a chance to take the lead just before halftime, electing for a penalty goal attempt on the siren rather than attacking the opposition while they had them on the back foot. They trailed 10-6 at halftime.
The Titans' positive momentum continued into the second half - but it wasn't producing points. The Warriors, on the other hand, pushed home the advantage and extended their lead with tries on the 49th and 59th minute to put themselves into an untouchable position after an hour of play.
For the remainder of the match both sides seemed to retreat into their shell, simple sets up and down the park and plenty of errors - particularly from the Titans who set up camp on the Warriors goalline at various times in the final 20 minutes.
Rivalry round awaits both sides, the Warriors will need to be sharper against a struggling Canterbury at the same venue next Friday night, while the Gold Coast will be hoping for mercy from the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium for the local derby, also Friday night.
New Zealand Warriors 22 defeated Gold Coast Titans 6
National Rugby League - Round 18 - Friday July 8, 2011 6:30pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Pat Reynolds
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and Adam Reid
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 10 Gold Coast Titans 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - James Maloney (3 Conversions)
2 Points - Bill Tupou (1 Try)
1 Point - Luke Bailey
New Zealand Warriors (22)
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Bill Tupou
Conversions: James Maloney (3/4)
Gold Coast Titans (6)
Tries: William Zillman
Conversions: Scott Prince (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Scott Prince (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Toyota Cup: A close match despite the final scoreline, the 9th-placed Warriors with a 31-18 win over the last-placed Titans. It was 18-all with ten minutes remaining.
Team changes: Warriors' QLD representative Jacob Lillyman drops to the bench with Ben Matulino starting in the front row. For the Titans, Esi Tonga and NSW lock Greg Bird are out, with Bodene Thompson to start at centre, while Luke O'Dwyer and the big name - Mat Rogers, appear on the bench.
Kickoff in the main game is 6:30pm AEST. Discuss the match on our forums, or follow us on Twitter, @LeagueUnlimited and be sure to add the hashtag #nrlwargld!
1 min: Scott Prince gets us underway. Warriors with the ball.
3 min: Shaun Johnson puts a huge mid-field bomb up for the Warriors on the last, they all let it bounce and it bounces backward to the in-goal before Steve Michaels wraps it up and is forced. Drop out.
5 min: INJURY: Warriors centre Lewis Brown is off injured inside the first five minutes. Warriors have a scrum 45m out.
6 min: Very little happening for the Warriors in their first full set inside Titans territory. Vatuvei puts it out off a cross-field kick. Titans handover.
9 min: TRY
TRY New Zealand Warriors
Scored by Shaun Berrigan. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
In soggy conditions, Johnson's put a lovely kick into the in-goal and Shaun Berrigan is there to open the scoring. Maloney nails the conversion not far from the posts.
New Zealand Warriors 6-0
11 min: Superb kick from Maloney on the last tackle of the return set, 75 metres down-field and pulls up inside the touch in-goal line forcing Mead to run it back. He passes to Rankin who is downed *just* inside the field of play.
12 min: Scott Prince is forced to kick on the fifth from his own 30m line and the Warriors are very quickly back in Titans' territory.
14 min: The momentum has shifted slightly, the Titans find themselves on the attack after the tackle count is restarted near halfway. William Zillman is down the touchline inside the Warriors 20... but he's pulled into touch by the cover defence.
17 min: The Titans find themselves in attacking territory again but the kick is just that little bit too far in front of the chasing attackers and it's a 20m restart.
18 min: Penalty against the Titans, Clinton Toopi holding on in the tackle too long - although Simon Mannering may have been holding on a little. Warriors back heavy on the attack.
20 min: TRY
TRY New Zealand Warriors
Scored by Bill Tupou. Conversion attempt by James Maloney unsuccessful.
Nice work through the hands and Bill Tupou finds a way to get the ball down in the corner. Hard attempt for Maloney is missed from out wide.
New Zealand Warriors 10-0
23 min: The Warriors get upfield and go close, but it's a bit of a mess from Elijah Taylor and the Titans end up with it.
28 min: TRY
TRY Gold Coast Titans
Scored by William Zillman. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
With the Titans on the attack, Scott Prince crafts a perfect grubber through the line and William Zillman is the first man there. Prince has no trouble converting the try he set up.
New Zealand Warriors 10-6
29 min: The rain is well and truly falling here at Mt Smart. Blood bin being called for Micheal Luck in his return game.
30 min: The Titans put it reasonably high on the last and it comes down with the raindrops - Locke has no trouble. Two tackles later, however, Manu Vatuvei mucks it up at dummy-half. Titans scrum 18m from their own line.
31 min: Here he is - Mat Rogers is back on the park for the Titans. They're attacking well, but the Warriors have their number in defence.
33 min: Warriors handling in the last five minutes has suffered, another drop ball early in the set, deep within their own half, and it's another Titans scrum.
34 min: Gold Coast looking dangerous, until a forward pass cruels them. Errors already WAR 7 GLD 5, the weather taking its toll on both teams.
37 min: Penalty for the Warriors coming out of their own end, will be helpful as they look to launch a raid ahead of halftime.
39 min: Maroons' rep Ash Harrison spills it deep inside his own territory with just under 2 minutes remaining in the half... Warriors to attack one last time.
40 min: A tricky high ball from the Titans as the forge metres up the park almost results in points but the Warriors are quick to clean it up.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
PENALTY GOAL Gold Coast Titans
Penalty goal attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful.
That's HALFTIME, the Titans missing a chance at an extra two points as Prince ricochets the attempt off the crossbar.
New Zealand Warriors 10-6
41 min: Second half begins with the Warriors kicking off.
43 min: INJURY UPDATE: Lewis Brown has Syndesmosis, won't be back tonight.
45 min: The Titans try putting Kevin Locke under pressure with another high ball, but he takes it well and dodges some defenders.
48 min: VIDEO REFEREE possible Warriors try to Simon Mannering. Looks okay, just checking any possible obstruction.
49 min: TRY
TRY New Zealand Warriors
Scored by Simon Mannering. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
Mannering is awarded a try after running good support of a well-caught bomb. Maloney adds the extras near the posts.
New Zealand Warriors 16-6
52 min: Warriors manage to force a knock on from Mat Rogers out of dummy half, just as the Titans looked likely to attack.
54 min: Good pressure from the Titans forcing the Warriors to bring it out deep from their own end, but Gold Coast defenders rushing up on Vatuvei have been called offside. Warriors penalty to piggyback them out of danger.
56 min: Hohaia is on for the home side and you already sense the momentum shifting back to the Warriors. He milks a penalty out of dummy half and now they're attacking inside the Titans' 20.
59 min: TRY
TRY New Zealand Warriors
Scored by Manu Vatuvei. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
They won't stop big Manu from there! Vatuvei steams onto the ball near the line and breaks through, then improves his position. After grounding, there's a bit of a stink in-goal between Manu and Titans' prop Luke Bailey, but nothing comes of it. Maloney adds the twp.
New Zealand Warriors 22-6
64 min: Back-to-back sets for the Titans, some crafty work by Mat Rogers in that set to earn his side more possession... but it comes undone as they try offloading out wide and the Warriors suddenly have it and sprint down-field.
65 min: Just as quickly, the Warriors lose the ball just inside Titans' territory before conceding a penalty to put the visitors hot on the attack again.
67 min: The Titans force a drop-out... the third of the night. A set later, another, the fourth of the night... WAIT! The video referee reverses the decision, ruling the Titans sent that ball dead. Warriors 20m restart.
71 min: Another set on the Warriors line and no result for the Titans. A combination of good Warriors defence and ordinary attack for from the Gold Coast.
73 min: A Titans error means possession inside the opposition half for the Warriors, but late in the set they spill their lollies too. The result seems a foregone conclusion now, neither side interested in playing quality football anymore.
75 min: You've got to feel for Luke Bailey, he's giving 110% for this Titans side but it's just not enough to lift them. This loss is set to bolt them to the foot of the ladder, with a daunting clash against Brisbane next Friday night. Bailey pressures Maloney on a kick but the crafty Warriors half isn't troubled.
77 min: Simple up and back stuff as the game continues. More errors, the Warriors drop it coming out of their own end as the rain falls again. Titans scrum just outside the opposition 10m line.
79 min: Luke Bailey claims a try but the Warriors had already grounded the ball and it's a dropout. Two sets maximum left in this one, the Titans now looking for consolation.
80 min: SIDELINE TRY! Okay, not quite. Kevin Locke nabs a brilliant intercept and sprints 70 metres, but in attempting to wrongfoot the Titans cover defence 10m from the line, he zigs too far right and slides out over the sideline.
80 min: The Titans throw one up (who knows why), and the Warriors get one last stab. No luck. Game over.