It was deja-vu all over again for the Warriors yesterday as their second home game in a row was decided by a stunning solo try by Konrad Hurrell and then a missed kick from the opposition.
The Warriors beat the Broncos 18-16 to record their fifth win on the bounce and the similarities with the win over Manly in round 13 are numerous.
Three weeks ago Konrad Hurrell danced around five Sea Eagles defenders to put the Warriors in front and Jamie Lyon missed a kick that would have put the game into extra time.
Last night the score line finished the same as three weeks ago, Hurrell scored a try near the end to put the Warriors in front and this time it was Corey Parker who missed the kick to put the game into golden point territory.
One of the differences this time was that Hurrell's try was a 93 metre run that came as a result of him intercepting a pass from Scott Prince. If he missed that intercept the Broncos would have scored and it was game over. Instead, it gave them two more competition points.
"If they see an opportunity to make a play we give them that option and I'm pleased he saw that," said an elated Warriors coach Matt Elliott of Hurrell.
"It was a make or break play, because if he doesn't make the play they score.
"But that's what NRL quality footballers have to do sometimes, they have to come up with those big decisions. If it went the other way we'd be disappointed with him but we'd understand what we'd try to achieve."
But while there were huge smiles among the Warriors players and 15,515 supporters who attended this game yesterday, it could have been much different if Parker landed his 45m penalty kick in the last seconds of the game. But such was the high quality of this contest, the neutral viewer could have quite happily seen some more of this contest.
The Warriors completed 32 of 37 sets of six, while the Broncos failed to complete just four of their 39.
Broncos coach Anthony Griffin said what hurt most about this defeat was that the team had put in such a good performance.
"It was an extremely high quality game, that's why it's disappointing to lose because there was an awful amount of effort, discipline and mental toughness that went into that performance and sometimes they go against you," Griffin said.
"It hurts you the most when you put in a performance like that.
"The positive is that we've got a football team that's willing to work. A few weeks ago we weren't at that level and we are now."
Earlier in the game the Warriors jumped out into the lead through a try from Manu Vatuvei, which Lachlan Maranta replied to in the 17th minute.
Shaun Johnson and Glen Fisiiahi colliding into each other when going for a high ball led to a try to Peter Wallace in the 32nd minute, but just before the break Vatuvei was superb in batting back the ball when at full stretch to Elijah Taylor for the Warriors' second try.
Josh Hoffman's try in the 46th minute got the Broncos back in front and then everything happened in the last nine minutes, thanks to Hurrell.
Elliott hasn't been that liberal in dishing out praise after each of the Warriors' five consecutive wins and while he rates this as a good victory, once more he feels there are things to improve on.
"I thought we were a little off and we looked like a team coming out of a bye," he said.
"So our execution wasn't great and I think I'm being too hard a marker in saying that, because of the quality of the opposition and the amount of defence we had to do did impact on our attack.
"But we definitely need to play better than what we did today, with the ball in particular."
The win puts the Warriors onto 16 points, along with the Knights and Panthers, but they only move up to 10th on the ladder because of their inferior points differential.
However, with nine games to go, plus a bye, five more wins should take them to that magic number of 28 points which is regarded as usually being good enough to get into the finals.
For the Broncos, who have two points less and have lost six of their last eight games, this season is quickly becoming one to write off.
Warriors 18 (Manu Vatuvei, Elijah Taylor tries; Shaun Johnson 2 goals) Broncos 16 (Lachlan Maranta, Peter Wallace, Josh Hoffman tries; Scott Prince 2 goals) HT: 12-10
- © Fairfax NZ News
After their heavy first round loss, where do you expect the NZ Warriors to finish in the NRL regular season?Related story: (See story)