Warriors sunk by late Dale Copley double
What a difference a week makes.
After a week bathing in the glow of a comprehensive thrashing of the Eels the Warriors were tested and could not withstand the heat of the Broncos, going down 28-22 in front of a raucous crowd at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium tonight.
The Warriors of old came out with missed tackles and handling errors but despite that the Auckland-based team, spurred on by a large Kiwi contingent in the 37,000-strong crowd, pushed the game to the wire.
It was the Warriors who had all the early momentum getting in two quick tries before being completely out run by the Broncos in the second quarter of the game.
Coach Andrew McFadden must have given a stern half time talk with a more composed side returning for the second half.
The Warriors had all the form coming into this game and had won the last three encounters including a 56-18 humiliation of the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium last year.
The teams were close with the Warriors sitting at sixth on the ladder with 22 points and the Broncos eighth just two points behind.
The Broncos team had been unsettled earlier in the week after three players, Jack Reed, winger Daniel Vidot and utility Corey Oates, were dropped from the side for breaching team protocol.
The Warriors don't like the pressure of expectation but McFadden had refused to buy into that earlier in the week and the game started well.
Captain Simon Mannering continued his try scoring rout dotting down after three minutes after running onto a Chad Townsend pass to score his 51st career try.
A few minutes later Sam Tomkins, playing at dummy half, pushed his way over in the tackle of Broncos captain Corey Parker. He wasn't so lucky a bit later in the half after appearing to dart over but being held up in the tackle of three Broncos players.
At this stage the Warriors were again scoring at a point a minute, like they were in the 48-0 thrashing of the Eels.
After 15 minutes the Broncos woke up and the Warriors defence broke with Ben Hannant, who had been given an opportunity to start, muscling over for a try in the tackle of Tomkins.
From there it was the Broncos who had the run off the ball. It was a heated affair with Manu Vatuvei threatening to come to blows with Sam Thaiday at one stage.
With seven minutes till half time Ben Hunt ran from 30m out and careered through two soft Warriors tackles to score. After being 12-0 up the scores were now tied.
Konrad Hurrell, who has starred for the Warriors in recent games, was targeted by the Broncos and at times appeared rattled. The errors started to flow for the Warriors who had made four errors by half time.
A wayward pass by Mannering led to a slick counter attacking move by the Broncos and a try to replacement centre Jordan Kahu right on half time.
The break could not have come soon enough for the Warriors who by that stage were completing about 80 per cent of their sets while the Broncos were completing almost all of theirs.
The Warriors had missed 11 tackles by the time the oranges were called.
The Warriors had the perfect start to the second half with Tomkins putting Ben Henry over for a well deserved try for the hardworking utility player before conceding a penalty goal.
It was Henry again who scored after a long ball from Tomkins. Henry showed his sheer strength by busting over despite the efforts of two Broncos players.
It was not enough, though.
After 65 minutes Broncos centre Dale Copley made the most of Warriors indecision to run 64m and score to level the scores. Copley scored again just minutes later.
The Warriors play the Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium this Sunday.
Brisbane Broncos 28 (D Copley 2 B Hannant B Hunt J Kahu tries C Parker 4 goals) NZ Warriors 22 (B Henry 2 S Mannering S Tomkins tries S Johnson 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Adam Devcich, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 37,082
What did you make of the Warriors' ninth-place finish in 2014?