Sam Tomkins off to good start in pre-season

NATHAN BURDON IN DUNEDIN
Last updated 17:13 23/02/2014
Sam Tomkins
Fairfax NZ
SOLID START: Sam Tomkins make his 13-a-side debut for the Warriors in Dunedin.

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English superstar Sam Tomkins has made a solid start to his Warriors career in a 48-4 pre-season hammering of the Broncos in Dunedin today.

Tomkins, Matt Elliot's major signing of the off-season, showed no nerves in his 13-a-side debut under the Dunedin roof, after impressing at the Auckland Nines last weekend.

The fleet-footed fullback went tidily about his custodial duties when the ball was in the air and on the grass, playing a key role in both of Glen Fisiiahi's first half tries before taking over some of the ball-playing leadership when Shaun Johnson went off in the final quarter.

Another new Warriors signing, Jason Bukuya was also a threat with his offloading troubling a lethargic Broncos defensive line.

The Warriors opened the scoring when Johnson ran across and then through the Broncos' defence from a scrum 20 metres out. With Fisiiahi twice punishing Brisbane out wide, and Charlie Gubb, who
played one first grade game for the Warriors last year, scoring close to the posts from a relatively simple wrap-around play just before halftime, the Warriors carried a 22-4 lead into the break.

The Broncos were better after halftime, but conceded a fifth try after Chad Townsend made the break up the middle of the field and then provided the final pass for Carlos Tuimavave on the next play.

Johnson's sideline conversion, his last act before being replaced by new signing Tuimoala Lolohea, had the Warriors ahead 28-4.

Tomkins was again on hand to throw a ball wide for David Fusitua to get in on the scoring action having watched the play run Fisiiahi's way in the first half.

Townsend took over the kicking duties but was unsuccessful from the sideline.

Tomkins scored 144 tries for Wigan before joining the NRL, but grabbed his first for the Warriors with quarter of an hour to go when he cut back against the grain of a rattled Broncos line.

Almost predictably, the back end of the game was marred by a streaker who was tackled before making it beyond the sideline, recalling a similar moment last year when league legend Ruben Wiki lowered a
naked pitch invader.

When play eventually resumed, the Warriors broke away up the left hand side before the ball swung back the other way for Konrad Hurrell to score the Warrior's eighth try of the afternoon.

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Hurrell had a second four minutes later to round out a tough trip south for the Broncos, who haven't won a game in New Zealand since 2009.

The game, which followed the Highlanders win over the Blues last night, drew a crowd of 5800, significantly less than the 15,300 who turned out for the corresponding fixture last year.

The Warriors open their season away to Parramatta next Sunday, while the Broncos begin their account against the Bulldogs on the same day.

- Fairfax Media

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