Southern hospitality a hit with Warriors
New Warriors recruit Todd Lowrie hopes Saturday night's 16-10 trial win over the Brisbane Broncos won't be the last time the NRL club plays under the roof at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium.
More than 15,000 fans turned out for the Warriors' first game in Dunedin. They were treated to five second-half tries, and a brilliant tackle by league legend and Warriors trainer Ruben Wiki on a streaker at halftime.
"The atmosphere was semifinal-like, to be honest - the crowd was fantastic," said Lowrie, who has arrived at the Warriors via the Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels and 2012 premiership winners the Melbourne Storm.
"I think they don't get too much league down here so it was a bit of unknown on what it was going to be like but from the guys in the support staff who have been doing the community work, they said that the support has been fantastic for us," Lowrie said.
"That's good, I hope they can get a bit more league down here."
Lowrie was arguably the best of the Warriors players as they held the Broncos scoreless during the first half and took a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Shaun Johnson penalty just before the break.
The Broncos were frustrated by the television official after getting the ball over the line four times in the first half hour.
Johnson didn't see out the second half after he was taken from the field clutching a forearm, but the Warriors managed to run in three second-half tries, including the game-winner to Lowrie with 10 minutes to go.
"It's my first hit out for the year and I was just trying to get a few cobwebs out of the legs and lungs," Lowrie said.
"I thought I did that and I thought we all went really well.
"Our effort was outstanding, but we were pretty scrappy in areas.
"It has to be expected, the Broncs were as well.
‘Hopefully we can fix up a few things and hook into Parra [Parramatta Eels] in round one," he said.
Warriors coach Matthew Elliott praised Lowrie's debut performance, along with the performances of Glen Fisiiahi and Pita Godinet off the bench.
He also paid credit to the way the southern public had supported the game in Dunedin.
"What a fantastic facility and what a great crowd," Elliott said.
"The [crowd] numbers are important, but the spirit and the fact they had a great time while they were here, that's probably just as important as the amount."
The result was a welcome one for the Warriors.
They lost their last eight games of the 2012 season and had also lost both of their previous pre-season games to Penrith and the Gold Coast.
They open their 2013 campaign against the Parramatta Eels in Sydney on March 9.
AT A GLANCE
Warriors 16 (Manu Vatuvei, Glen Fisiiahi, Todd Lowrie tries; Shaun Johnson pen, Pita Godinet con) Broncos 10 (Lachlan Maranta, Justin Hodges tries; Scott Prince con). HT: 2-0.
The Southland Times