Warriors not getting carried away with success

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 07:23 14/07/2014
Shaun Johnson
Photosport
IN FORM: Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson and his halves partner Chad Townsend were impressive against the Eels last Saturday.

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One good game does not a season make.

On Saturday night the Warriors let their hair down and ran rampant over the Eels at Mt Smart Stadium, demolishing them 36-0 in the first half before holding out in the second to keep the Paramatta side scoreless and win 48-0.

It was the third biggest win in the club's history.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has now been in charge of the team for nine games - seven of those have seen the Warriors end up on the right side of the ledger and Saturday's performance was the most clinical to date.

You could forgive the players, then, if they got a little carried away.

However, this new breed of Warrior has his head screwed on.

The Warriors play the Broncos in Brisbane on Saturday, before taking on the Sea Eagles in Auckland the following weekend.

Both sides are in form and in the top eight.

The Broncos, in particular, will be a tough proposition, particularly as they look to make amends for a close loss to the Warriors a few weeks ago.

Playmaker Shaun Johnson said the team was aware of the challenge that lay ahead and conceded the team still had many things to work on.

''There is certainly a lot of things [to work on]. I missed a few tackles when I didn't apply myself, and not taking all of the opportunities - we took some but we still missed a lot. We have just got to keep working hard.''

Johnson said it was the game the team had been building to over the past two months since McFadden had taken over.

''I think the big test was going out in that second half. That first half was unreal but we realised, and [McFadden] made it pretty obvious that we could let it all go if we went out with a pretty blase performance. The boys responded, we stuck to our game plan and didn't let them score a try.''

Johnson said the team felt the most pleasing aspect was that they kept the Eels scoreless.

''Six-nil, 12-nil, 48-nil it's no different.''

McFadden takes pleasure in the little things - the fact that Jacob Lillyman, a stalwart of the Warriors team who was backing up from Origin, was rested after 25 minutes and yet the team's less experienced players more than adequately filled his spot; that his team stuck to the game plan almost to the tee, and Ben Henry, who continues to push through the pain of a knee injury, again proved his worth as the super-utility.

He can hardly be displeased with his captain, either. Simon Mannering scored the 50th try of his career against the Eels and again toiled away to have the most running metres of the entire team (168m) and 18 tackles.

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The Warriors had 57 per cent of possession and completed 37 sets to the Eels' 28.

The Eels were worn down on defence - they had to make 278 tackles to the Warriors' 229. They also missed nearly double the number of tackles the Warriors did.

Eels coach Brad Arthur said after the game he felt the penalty count was unfair against his side and meant they were having to constantly defend.

The halves combination also seemed to finally click for the Warriors.

Johnson and Chad Townsend have battled with their tactical kicking throughout the season but on Saturday they were able to both put in good kicks off the last tackle.

''It was a big target for me and [Townsend]. We have been pretty hard on ourselves, we got it right,'' Johnson said.

Fullback Sam Tomkins, who admitted he felt at home in the cold, damp conditions, said the team now needed to push on.

''There are a lot of teams on very similar points and we know if you slip off for a game you can find yourself down the table,'' he said.

''We want to strive to be consistent and continue that right through to the playoffs. We knew we had three home games back-to-back where we could try and dominate, and we have done that.''

- Stuff

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