Warriors absolutely obliterate the Raiders

DAVID LONG AT EDEN PARK
Last updated 17:00 10/05/2014
Manu Vatuve
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WE'RE ROMPING HOME: Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors, bottom, is congratulated by Chad Townsend after scoring against the Raiders at Eden Park in Auckland.

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The Eden Park hoodoo is finally dead for the New Zealand Warriors and will never be mentioned again.

At the sixth time of asking the Warriors have finally broken their drought at the home of Auckland rugby by beating the Canberra Raiders 54-12.

It was the Warriors' last game here this season and may well be the final time they ever play at the ground, but if that's to be the case this was a great way to say goodbye.

In front of 18,165 spectators, this was the Warriors at their very best as they beat up the Raiders forwards and used the scintillating skills of their backs to continually open up their hapless opposition.

This win was more impressive than their victory over the Storm in Melbourne two weeks ago, not because the opposition was tougher, but because they finally performed when they were expected to. 

For so long the Warriors have been able to pull off a big win one week and capitulate the next, but already under new coach Andrew McFadden they've shown a level of consistency that's been lacking the past couple of years.

For the Raiders, this was a fourth defeat in five games and their campaign to make the top eight seems to be over before the Origin period. 

It took just four minutes for the Warriors to make their mark, with Ben Matulino bursting through a rapidly closing gap in the Raiders' defence to score the opening try.

Four minutes later Konrad Hurrell showed he's moved on from a week where he was in the media for all of the wrong reasons, by scoring a 60-metre try after he ripped down the right edge, using strength and speed.

By the 13th minute the game was effectively in the bag after Shaun Johnson intercepted a pass from Glen Buttriss and ran in 30m before nailing his third successful conversion of the night.

The Raiders were able to finally get on the board shortly afterwards when Jarod Croker leaped above everyone else to catch a Terry Campese bomb aimed perfectly just inside the Warriors' goal line.

But eight minutes from the break the Warriors were able to extend their lead again, when Ngani Laumape rounded the Raiders defence to beat Bill Tupou.

The Warriors had to soak up some pressure early in the second half, but defended well and then struck again with a 90m runaway try from Johnson.

This was followed quickly by a try to Sam Tomkins, with Manu Vatuvei on two occasions and Jayson Bukuya adding to the Raiders' woes, while Croker picked up his second try in the last play of the game.

In the reserve game fixture earlier in the day the Warriors lost 42-22 to the Raiders' feeder team, the Mounties, with Tuimoala Lolohea (twice), Solomone Kata and Steve Waetford scoring tries for the home side.

There was better news for the under 20s who thrashed the Raiders 54-0 with James Bell, Paul Ulberg and Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard all bagging a brace of tries.

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NZ Warriors 54 (S Johnson 2, M Vatuvei 2, B Matulino, K Hurrell, N Laumape, S Tomkins, J Bukuya tries; Johnson 9 goals) Canberra Raiders 12 (J Croker 2 tries; Croker 2 goals). HT: 24-6

- Fairfax Media

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